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ASCC PRESS RELEASES

2014

 

9/11/2014 - ASCC-SAFF Performs at Teuila Festival

9/10/2014 - ASCC Archaeology Students Participate in SCIII

9/3/2014 - ASCC-ASAHEC Introduces High School Students to Health Care Professions

8/25/2014 - Former ASCC MSP Students Continue Research, Community Service

7/30/2014 - Highest Number Yet of ASCC B.Ed. Student Sit Praxis Test

7/29/2014 - ASCC-SSI Participates in Indigenous Peoples’ Events

7/26/2014 - ASCC Marine Science Instructor Attends Climate Change Workshop

7/21/2014 - ASCC Completes Accreditation Self-Study

7/15/2014 - ASCC Nursing Department Holds 2014 Recognition Ceremony

7/9/2014 - ASCC-TTD and ASISHA Coordinating “Safety Fest” This Month

7/7/2014 - ASCC-ASAHEC Conducts Outreach on Aunuu

6/6/2014 - ASCC-CNR Hosts Annual CHL Meeting

6/4/2014 - ASCC Student Accepted to FPHLP Summer Internship

5/30/2014 - ASCC-CNR to Host Annual CHL Meeting

5/23/2014 - ASCC Alumni Association Awards Spring 2014 Scholarship

5/21/2014 - 60th Commencement Ceremony: Friday, May 16, 2014

5/21/2014 - ASCC Graduate Banquet Celebrates Academic Achievement

5/13/2014 - ASCC Student Attends Guam Conference on Sustainability

5/8/2014 - ASCC Renews Articulation with Hawaii Universities

5/8/2014 - ASCC-TED Prospective Graduate Says “Being a Teacher is a Calling”

5/6/2014 - Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona Keynote Speaker for 60th ASCC Commencement

5/2/2014 - ASCC-CNR and UH Sea Grant to Host “Building Capacity in Aquaponics” Workshop

4/29/2014 - ASCC-ISO Poster Contest Celebrates Diversity

4/25/2014 - ASCC Sea Grant Extension Agent Strives to Improve Community Resiliency

4/23/2014 - ASCC-AWD Expands Course Offerings

4/14/2014 - ASCC Student Art Show Opens Next Week

4/11/2014 - Languages & Literature Department Presents Literary Evening

4/10/2014 - ASCC Board of Higher Education Participates in Leadership Seminar

4/3/2014 - ASCC Selects Spring 2014 Presidential Merit Scholar

3/31/2014 - ASCC-ASCRF Announces “Biggest Loser”

3/27/2014 - ASCC-PTK Graduate Awarded New Century Scholarship

3/25/2014 - New ASCC Organization Brings Together International Students

3/20/2014 - ASCC Business Students Visit New Zealand and Samoa

3/19/2014 - Pacific Island Forestry Committee (PIFC) Meeting Comes to American Samoa

3/13/2014 - ASCC Artist Delivers Keynote Speech for International Women’s Day

3/10/2014 - ASCC Nursing Takes Health & Safety Presentation to Boys & Girls Club

3/10/2014 - Laupele for Your Health at First Friday Courtesy ASCC/CNR

3/4/2014 - ACE Makes Major Donation to ASCC Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program

3/3/2014 - ASCC-CNR Children’s Healthy Living Program Enters Intervention Stage

2/28/2014 - ASCC Phi Theta Kappa Holds Spring 2014 Induction

2/21/2014 - ASCC-CNR Conducts Poultry Research

2/13/2014 - ASCC-TTD Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program Enrollment Rises

2/7/2014 - ASCC TED Establishes Cohort

2/5/2014 - ASCC Business Students Assist Public with Tax Filing

1/31/2014 - Author L. Filloon to Speak at ASCC

1/29/2014 - ASCC ASCRF Student Club Balance Civic Engagement with Academic Support

1/23/2014 - ASCC Welcomes New Dean of Academic Affairs

1/17/2014 - ASCC Employees Celebrate On Their 'Day'

 


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Young ladies from the ASCC Student Association for Faasamoa are seen here during their recent visit to Samoa, where they participated in the Teuila Festival. (Courtesy Photo) A group of 22 members of the ASCC Student Association for Faasamoa, along with four staff from the Samoan Studies Institute, traveled to Samoa earlier this month to participate in the Teuila Festival. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-SAFF Performs at Teuila Festival

September 11, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Over the last few years, the Student Association for Faasamoa (SAFF) has established itself as one of the strongest student organizations at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC). Overseen by the Samoan Studies Institute (SSI), the SAFF promotes Samoan culture, arts and values while also providing its members with an academic support group, particularly in the area Samoan Studies. While membership may vary from semester to semester, the SAFF has consistently showcased its home pride, discipline and enthusiasm through cultural performances on numerous special occasions here at home as well as overseas at the most recent Festival of the Pacific Arts held in the Solomon Islands two years ago.

Upon receiving approval to participate in this year’s Teuila Festival, the SSI gave this semester’s SAFF members the option of traveling to the Independent State of Samoa for the event, and 24 of them chose to make the trip. With each student having secured parental permission and made arrangements with their instructors to make up for time away from classes, the SSI used funds from previous group performances to cover travel expenses for the available SAFF members and four SSI staff. Each student need only to contribute $40 towards the collective meal budget.

During their visit to Samoa, the SAFF students enjoyed the opportunity not only to represent ASCC during their festival performances, but also to observe and practice the cultural traditions their organization seeks to exemplify. “The trip was organized with the students responsible for all of its aspects,” said SSI Director Okenaisa Fauolo-Manila, who accompanied the students. “From morning and evening devotions, cooking and serving our meals, to overseeing our luggage and equipment and so forth, this gave them an opportunity to learn the importance of va fealoa’i and its application.” With the group lodged at the Transit Motel, about an hour’s drive from Apia, they quickly adjusted to both living with each other 24/7 as well as knowing the correct behavior for any given situation. For example, when relatives of the malaga visited with food or simply to show support, the SAFF members followed Samoan protocol with formal acknowledgements.

“I had learned a lot of new things, not only educational, but physical and spiritual,” said student Nu’u Mata’utia. “I was able to cooperate and work as part of a team while we were on the trip.” Theresa Ieremia said she “learned to be patient with the other SAFF members,” while Harriette Manase observed “how disciplined and well behaved our SAFF members are.”The SAFF members similarly impressed Outreach Coordinator Elisaia Ma’ilo, who joined the SSI staff in spring 2014 and came along on the Teuila trip. “Being a part of this trip really broadened their understanding of what it means to be a Samoan,” Ma’ilo reflected. “It's much more than just identifying with a certain cultural aspect. It's being a well-rounded, well-versed, well-mannered, well-taught Samoan grounded in the intricacy of our fa'asamoa. They bonded with each other and basked in the traditions of our ancestors.”

The ASCC group was scheduled to perform three times during the festival, but they impressed the organizers enough to receive an invitation to give an additional performance as part what Fauolo-Manila describes as “the best of Samoa showcase extravaganza.” When not performing, the SAFF members had time for activities such as a historical tour led by the SSI’s Tele’iai Christian Ausage, which enhanced their insight into the connection between Samoa’s past and present. Faleosalafai Tipa expressed appreciation that the SAFF “had the opportunity to visit sites where the history of our ancestors took place, and learn how many of the matai titles came about in our culture.” As a result of the tour, student Mekelian Tia said he “better understood legends and old stories of Samoa. Not only that, but I also learned proverbs that I can use when I speak Samoan.”

As much as the SAFF members enjoyed sharing their talents with the Teuila Festival audiences, SSI Director Fauolo-Manila observed that the trip as a whole provided an opportunity for the students to not only connect with the roots of their culture, but also to reinforce the values that make ASCC unique. “We put into practice the ASCC core values of respect for traditions, culture, spiritual beliefs, and diversity,” she said. “Each SAFF student also experienced the lifelong skills of respecting each other, collaboration and cooperation as part of being a responsible ASCC student with a positive self-concept.”

For more information on the Student Association for Faasamoa, contact the Samoan Studies Institute at ASCC at 699-9155.

 


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Archaeology students from American Samoa, including ASCC graduates Nolita Motu and Lindsay Ailma, and current ASCC student Visesio Hope, socialize with colleagues from overseas during the Third Samoa Conference held last month. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC Archaeology Students Participate in SCIII

September 10, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

“It inspired me to pursue my future degrees in Archaeology and to become one of the professionals presenting research,” enthused American Samoa Community College (ASCC) spring 2014 graduate Lindsay Ailima, describing her participation in the recent Third Samoa Conference (SCIII) at the National University of Samoa (NUS) in late August. Following her graduation from ASCC, Lindsay plans to go on a mission for her church before continuing her college education at the University of Hawaii. While waiting for her mission to begin, Lindsay has taken the opportunity to further her knowledge of Archaeology, a subject which she recently developed a very keen interest in, by joining Dr. David Addison of ASCC; fellow ASCC graduate Nolita Motu, now attending North Dakota State University; and current ASCC student Visesio Hope for the Archaeology component of SCIII.

Along with Epi Suafo’a-Taua’I of ASPA, ASCC Archaeology instructor Dr. Addison co-presented a paper on the Tutuila Basalt Tool Manufacture and Export Industry. Nolita, who completed her AA in Teacher Education at ASCC in 2010 and her BA in Archaeology from UH Hilo in 2013, attend SCIII to present her graduate research on the usefulness of LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) in Archaeology, which allows archaeologist to look at the ground surface image of the earth with no trees or vegetations visible. “Lindsay and Visesio’s participation came about because I’ve been mentoring them as future archaeologists,” explained Dr. Addison. “It was important for them to experience an academic conference and how research is presented in that setting. Also, I wanted them to interact with Nolita as a role model and peer mentor, and observe her presenting her research to professional colleagues.”

With its theme of “Opportunities and Challenges for a Sustainable Cultural and Natural Environment,” SCIII took place from August 26th – 29th, the week before the commencement of the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). SCIII reflected on the theme of the SIDS conference in relation to sustainable development in small island states, at a time when small islands are uniquely challenged by the future impacts of climate change. SCIII embraced the concept of ‘sustainable development,’ exploring the question of how to sustain and protect Samoa’s past, present and future achievements in relation to the natural environment, culture, language, literature history, heritage, communications, science, health and education.

A sub-theme of SCIII was Samoan Cultural Heritage & Archaeology, and this portion of the event drew professionals from across the Pacific. “Connections and networking are very important because Pacific archaeologists form a relatively small community, and future research and educational opportunities often depend on knowing the people who can provide them,” said Dr. Addison. “This is especially important for our students, coming from a small and relatively unknown institution. That the conference took place at the NUS was an added benefit because our American Samoa students could connect with Archaeology students there, who will be their future colleagues on the other side of Samoa.”

“This conference was like a reunion for all professionals and young archaeologists from across the Pacific,” reflected Lindsay. “They reported, exchanged information, shared their experiences on what they found, and how they interacted with the environment while doing field research. The most valuable lesson I've learned from attending this conference is the importance of studying the material remains left by our ancestors. Only through studying what the ancient people in Samoa left behind can we learn the history of our ancestors and our culture. I've learned about, Lapita pottery, a shrinking land, the ancient people of Manono, automated archaeological feature identification on Tutuila and Manu’a, the disappearance of ceramics (clay pots) in Samoa, Tutuila ancient basalt tool manufacture and export, and so much more.”

Having attended three academic conferences so far and presented papers at two, Nolita spoke of how Archaeology addresses gaps in our knowledge of Samoa’s true history. “Our Samoan prehistory has always been a mystery to me, she said, “and Archaeology offers an opportunity to research, understand, and explain that mystery. It is another way to appreciate my Samoan culture.” Visesio, originally from Tokelau, intends on integrating Archaeology into his current focus on education. “I’m majoring in Teacher Education because Archaeology involves a lot of teaching,” he explained. “Tokelau knows very little about Archaeology, so I want to enter the field and show the people at home how important things from the past are.”

Funding for travel to the conference was provided by ASCC’s National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, which assists students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas, and by the ASCC Samoan Studies Institute. For more information on Archaeology course at ASCC, contact Dr. David Addison at 699-9155, ext. 354.

 


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Students who participated in last month’s ASCC-ASAHEC Summer Academy included high school students (seated l-r) Rejoyce Saega, Adelyn Sega, Danny Faletogo, (standing l-r) Pauline Vaivao, Shekinah Leota, Seine Poloai, Moana Faifeau, Valerie Pu’a, and Melanie Vaiolo. (Courtesy Photo) At the conclusion of last month’s ASCC-ASAHEC Summer Academy, four of the 10 participating high school students visit the Leone Healing Garden. Seen here are (l-r) Rejoyce Saega, Seine Poloai, Isidro Balza and Pauline Vaivao. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-ASAHEC Introduces High School Students to Health Care Professions

September 3, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC), a program of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) concluded its Summer Health Academy 2014 earlier this month, with ten high school students receiving an in-depth introduction to the various aspects of health care. ASAHEC Director Ms. Sailitafa Samoa explained that one of the Center’s objectives is to increase the awareness in health care professions among high school students, and that this summer’s Academy participants benefitted from the involvement of numerous local professionals.

ASAHEC chose ten students for the two-week academy based on their applications and an essay explaining their interest in the health care field. Successful applicants included three from Tafuna High School, two from Samoana, two from Manu’a High School, and one each from Fagaitua, Leone, and South Pacific Academy. The diverse Academy agenda included introducing the students to the current concept of health, exploring the concept of “tausimatua” in the Samoan culture, studying aging and Alzheimer’s disease, building leadership skills, and observing a typical day’s work for health care professionals. Students also learned about promoting healthy lifestyle habits, identifying goals for the next school year, and formulating a career pathway for their own future.

The first week of the Academy began with a tour of the Department of Health in Faga’alu, led by Miss Leiema Hunt, NCD Assistant Coordinator. Participants met and spoke with Dr. Joseph Tufa, the DOH Medical Officer; Mrs. Moira Wright, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program Coordinator; and Mr. Faaloia Roy Mulitalo of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Program. They also had a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act orientation at LBJ Hospital and a tour with Ms. Lori Fale, Coordinator of Special Services & Compliance. Other LBJ professionals sharing their knowledge included Dr. Annie Fuavai, Deputy Medical Director; Dr. Paul Winkrantz, Radiologist; Dr. Amor Gonzales, who provided a tour of the medical laboratory; Dr. Evelyn Fa’ai’uaso of the LBJ Pharmacy; Dr. Ernest Oo of the Eye Clinic; Dr. Su Wong in the ENT Clinic; and Mrs. Simamao Tuato’o, LBJ Director of Nursing.

On the ASCC campus, Ms. Lele Ah Mu, of the ASCC Nursing Program shared some of the fundamental skills of the profession. The students also heard from guest speakers Dr. Shisram Shisram of the LBJ Psychiatry Department and Mrs. Lesley Penitusi, the LBJ Medial Social Worker. Next, each participant was assigned to an LBJ healthcare professional of their choice to shadow for a day. Doctors who agreed to mentor students included Dr. James Marrone, Pediatrician; Dr. MaIvy Clemente, Pathologist and Dr. Kolinio Niumataiwalu of the LBJ Operating Room; Dental Hygienist Mr. Fred Thompson and Dental Manager Mrs. Esther Lefiti; and RN, Mrs. Olita Tafiti, RN, of the Dialysis Unit. The remaining students shadowed nurses in the Surgical, Medical, and Obstetrics and Gynecology wards.

In the second week, the Academy students visited Hope House; meeting with Mrs. Cecilia Solofa, RN retired, before each student was assigned a resident to spend the day with. Next, individual students again shadowed healthcare professionals, including Dr. Sean Stracensky at the Tafuna Health Center; Dr. Talifa Talifa Jr. of Tafuna Health Center Dentistry; Mr. Doug Jessop in the DOH IT Department, and Dr. Malo Tuiolosega at his private clinic in Malaeloa. Guest speakers included Mr. Travis Fleming, dietician and nutritionist with ASCC Community and Natural Resources, and John A. Burns School of Medicine medical students Nash Witten and Erika Ho. ASCC student Miss Ruta Ropeti shared her experiences from the Future Public Health Leaders Program, an internship she attended earlier this summer at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

On the final day of the Academy, four students participated in a display expedition at LBJ. For their visual representations, Isidro Balza chose the topic of Athletic Trainer; Rejoyce Saega’s subject was Pneumonia, inspired after being with Dr. Marrone and seeing a lot of children with the sickness; Seine Poloai’s topic was Diabetes; and Pauline Vaivao chose Ear Infection after working in the ENT Clinic with Dr. Su Wong. They also assisted with height, weight and blood pressure measurements during a health screening that morning. The Academy ended with a fieldtrip to the Healing Garden in Leone and the village of Amanave.

ASAHEC Director Samoa summed up this year’s Academy as “a collaborative effort by the local healthcare leaders to increase high school interest in careers in healthcare.” Over time, she explained, ASAHEC has fine-tuned its Academy to make it rewarding for the participants. “This year we added the shadowing, the session with ASCC Nursing, and the visits to Hope House and Dr. Tuiolosega’s Clinic,” she said. In addition to the many health care professionals who lent their time to the Academy, Ms. Samoa also thanked ASCC student volunteers Melanie Vaiolo, Shekinah Leota, Michael James Sword-Curry, and Tau Godinet-Ve'ave'a for their assistance and support. For more information on ASAHEC, call 699-1587.

 


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Former ASCC students who interned at the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa this summer include: (top left to right) Natosha Ripley, Junior Rex Lokeni, Leilua Willis Watson, high school intern, Oliver Mortenson; (bottom left to right) high school intern, Charles Miller, and Iosefa Siatuu. (Courtesy Photo)

Former ASCC MSP Students Continue Research, Community Service

August 25, 2014

By Kelley Anderson Tagarino

Students often wonder where their chosen paths will take them after their time at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC). With so many options available to them today, the possible pathways are endless, and these choices can feel overwhelming. Several former ASCC students returned home for the summer, each of them currently pursuing a Bachelors or Masters degrees in Marine Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UHH), and they shared the positive experiences that have resulted from their choice to enter the field of Marine Science.

June Fuifatu graduated from ASCC in 2011 with an AA in Liberal Arts, and transferred to UHH in 2012. She interned this summer at the American Samoa Power Authority Archeology Lab, an opportunity funded through the Highly Engaged Learning Program. “I got interested in Marine Science when I took a Special Project class and conducted research on coral reefs,” she recalled. June subsequently applied this knowledge to historic artifacts such as fishhooks, fish traps, and fish bones, which was her introduction to Maritime Archeology, a field that UH offers several courses in. “My educational goal is to get my BA in Marine Biology and then a Masters degree in Marine Science,” said June. “I want to return to the island and assist in protecting our coral reefs and our ocean which gives us so much.”

Charles Miller interned this summer at the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) as part of the NMSAS scholarship to support his pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Marine Science. While interning with NMSAS, Charles coordinated the Ocean Star summer camp program for middle school students, facilitating all camp activities. A former Criminal Justice major, Charles took MSC280 (Marine Science Special Projects) and completed the Quantitative Underwater Ecological Survey Techniques (QUEST) field program to earn credit for MSC280, both of which sparked his interest in Marine Science.

Natosha Ripley also interned with the NMSAS while on summer break from pursuing her Masters degree in Marine Science from UHH. While earning her Associates of Science in Natural Resources from ASCC, Natosha took MSC160 (Natural Marine Resources) as a required course, which led her to additional courses and an Marine Science Program (MSP) internship. “Take advantage of any Marine Science classes, programs, and workshops!” she advises interested students. “Volunteer and search for internships with any departments or agencies associated with Marine Science.” As part of her internship, Natosha worked with NMSAS research/scientist Dr. Wendy Cover at Fagatele Bay in the Sanctuary Climate Monitoring Project, helped the other interns with their tasks in the Ocean Star Program, gave tours at the Ocean Center, and helped plan the Hokule'a and Hikianalia arrivals that the NMSAS hosted.

Leilua Willis Watson, the third NMSAS summer intern, graduated from ASCC this spring with an AA in Marine Science. “Marine Science is one of the most challenging majors at UHH,” she reflected. “The professors challenge you because they want you to succeed and carry on the work they’ve started.” Leilua reflected that her interest in Marine Science came quite naturally. “I’ve always been surrounded by the ocean and always interested in it,” she said. Leilua advises ASCC interested in the field to “stay focused, because marine science isn't an easy major.” Leilua hopes to one day work for the NMSAS as a way of giving back to her community.

Valentine Vaeoso, recipient of the Marine Science scholarship funded by the Governor’s Coral Reef Advisory Group and the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, interned over the summer with the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources). In addition to assisting with DMWR programs, Valentine also worked with Dr. Thomas Oliver, a UH researcher conducting coral studies. After several weeks learning research techniques from Dr. Oliver, Valentine successfully conducted coral temperature-tolerance experiments on two local coral species using water tanks with controllable temperature set up at the ASCC MSP wet lab. Results from this research can help determine which corals will be most likely to survive in warmer ocean temperatures.

Rex Lokeni, recently highlighted in Samoa News as the first Samoan crew member on the Hokule’a, is the fourth summer intern with NMSAS. Rex also started out as a Marine Science student at ASCC. “Everyday life on an island has to do with the ocean, and I want to learn to preserve it,” explained Rex of his interest in the field.

These stories illustrate some of the pathways open to ASCC students interested in Marine Science. If any current or future students would like more information, they can contact Sea Grant Extension Agent Kelley Anderson Tagarino at 699-3353/258-2967 or email her at KelleyAT@hawaii.edu

 


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ASCC Teacher Education Department (TED) Director Dr. Lina Galea'i-Scanlan (center) counsels with Christine Fuimaono (left) and Sia Aga-Velega, to TED staff members who also belong to a Bachelors in Education cohort and recently sat the national PRAXIS exam. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

Highest Number Yet of ASCC B.Ed. Student Sit Praxis Test

July 30, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Teacher Education Department (TED) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) reached a milestone during the spring 2014 semester with its highest yet number of Bachelors in Education (B.Ed.) students sitting the national Praxis 1 examination. The results of the tests, recently received by the TED, gave additional cause for congratulations with a third of the students tested earning passing scores on their first attempt and the remainder coming close to passing.

A Praxis test is one of a series of American teacher certification exams written and administered by the Educational Testing Service. Various Praxis tests are usually required before, during, and after teacher training courses in the U.S. In order to be a teacher in most states in the US, the Praxis test is required. It usually consists of two separate tests, Praxis 1 and 2. The Praxis I, or Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), consists of three exams: reading, writing, and mathematics. In most colleges and universities, a passing score must be earned for admission to teacher education. In most states, a passing score must be earned before the teacher education graduate can apply for his or her teaching license or certificate.

ASCC TED Director Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan explained that department has required students to sit the Praxis 1 test since the inception of the B.Ed. program. “Our students usually take the test between their third and fourth year in the program,” she said, “although they may take it earlier if their counselors feel they’re ready.” Whereas in the past only a very small number of students would sit the Praxis 1 during any given semester, during spring 2014 that number grew to 13, a group comprising a mixture of newer and more advanced students. “Students pursuing a Teaching degree typically need to re-take certain parts of the Praxis 1 test before they pass,” explained Dr. Galea’i-Scanlan, “so for a third of our group to pass the whole exam on their first try, and for most of the remainder to come within only a few points of passing represents a significant accomplishment and reflects well on the content of our courses.”

While test results from the Praxis 1 may be applied anywhere in the U.S., required scores may vary from state to state. “This is a national baseline component that all teachers take for certification,” clarified Dr. Galea’i-Scanlan. “ASCC is following national standards by having this test be part of its criterion to ensure effective teaching and teacher quality.” The TED provides tutorials for the PRAXIS I test during the regular semester. Prior to the testing date, TED provides specific tutorials in all three areas and testing strategies to help the students. The department also provides financial assistance for students to help cover registration and the testing fee for the PRAXIS I. Limited funds are available for this assistance, which is on a first come first serve basis.

For more information on the TED, visit the ASCC web site at www.amsamoa.edu.

 


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ASCC Samoan Studies Institute Okenaisa Fauolo-Manial (center) and four Samoan Studies majors are seen during their trip to Washington DC in late July, where they participated in the events the Living Earth Festival and First Stewards Symposium, two events highlighting America's indigenous peoples. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-SSI Participates in Indigenous Peoples’ Events

July 29, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Samoan Studies Institute (SSI) Director Okenaisa Fauolo-Manila and four Samoan Studies majors recently returned from Washington, DC where they participated in two events centered on the indigenous peoples of America. From July 18th to the 20th the group took part in the Living Earth Festival sponsored by the National Museum of the American Indian, then participated in the First Stewards symposium from July 21st to 23rd. Both events took place in Washington, DC.

With travel resource assistance from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) in Hawaii, at both events Samoan Studies majors Anna Afoa, Toni-Marie Hollister, Jerome Matagi and Faleosalafai Tipa shared their research researched on traditional Samoan expressions about fishing and climate, and the similarities these expressions share with other Pacific island cultures such as Tokelau, Fiji, New Zealand and Hawaii. The students created a poster based on their research, which they displayed at both events, with at least one of them always on hand to answer questions. They also shared Samoan song and dance during the Cultural Reception on the first evening of the First Stewards event.

With its theme of “United Indigenous Voices Address Sustainability: Climate Change and Traditional Places,” the First Stewards symposium saw Fauolo-Manila join the Cultural Resource Damage Assessments Panel to give a Samoa-based presentation on Cultural Resources Assessment and Climate Change. Also attending the symposium from American Samoa was Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele, a member of The WPFMC, who gave a presentation on Food Security and Climate Change. Fauolo-Manila expressed pride at her and Dr. Poumele’s inclusion in the event. “It reaffirms the importance of Samoan Studies because solutions found in traditional knowledge are being recognized and valued by organizations such as First Stewards,” she said. “For example, even prior to western contact Samoa has had traditional responses to natural disasters which enabled us to survive and thrive. This was a valuable opportunity to share and learn with other indigenous people addressing contemporary issues.”

The SSI Director also feels the experience gave the ASCC students a new perspective on their choice of Samoan Studies as a major. “It showed them the growing recognition for traditional ecological knowledge and its application to issues we face today,” reflected Fauolo-Manila. “It also did much for their self-confidence, skills at public speaking, ability to relate to other indigenous peoples, and pride in their own cultural heritage.” Fauolo-Manila said their presence at both events generated a good deal of interest in American Samoa, with her students proving themselves exemplary ambassadors for the Territory. “I’m proud of the four Samoan Studies majors for setting an example as respectful Samoans,” she said. “I received many compliments from people who were impressed at how well-disciplined and courteous these young adults were. Personally, I’m grateful to these students’ parents for the values they instilled in their sons and daughters.”

Fauolo-Manila expressed her thanks to Ms. Kitty Simonds, Executive Director of the WPFMC and also Vice-Chair of First Stewards, and to ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i for their assistance in making the trip possible. For more information on the SSI, visit the ASCC website at: www.amsamoa.edu.

 


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Marine Science instructor Jameson Newtson (far left) joins fellow scientists at a workshop in Palau in June 2014. Next to Jameson is former ASCC Marine Science instructor Lauren Wetzell, who now works for the University of Hawaii. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC Marine Science Instructor Attends Climate Change Workshop

July 26, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Marine Science instructor Jameson Ka’eo Newtson joined faculty in the same field from the College of the Marshall Islands, College of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Northern Marianas College at the Climate Change Science workshop held in Palau earlier this summer, and hosted by the Palau Community College (PCC) and the Pacific Island Coral Reef Center (PICRC). The workshop focused on content and tools to monitor ocean acidification (OA), a troublesome consequence of climate change, and discussions of the scientific tools to monitor OA with world-renowned coral reef experts Dr. Robert Richmond (University of Hawaii) and Dr. Robert Dunbar (Stanford University).

Since the industrial revolution, both burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have greatly contributed to the unprecedented rate-increase of atmospheric CO2. As CO2 dissolves into the seawater, the ocean’s pH decreases (becoming less alkaline and more acidic). This process is called “ocean acidification” and makes needed ions such as calcium and carbonate less available to those organisms that depend on them to form skeletons such as coral reefs. As a result, these calcium carbonate building organisms will have less energy to grow, feed, and reproduce. OA is changing the marine ecosystems so rapidly that the next generation will not know coral reefs the same way as seen today. Recent scientific research warns that OA, in combination with sea surface warming, will cause mortality in 60% of the world’s coral reefs, which increase the vulnerability of Island Nations to sea level rise and food security.

Faculty members participating in the three-day workshop were provided with a geographically relevant climate change curriculum, five Hobo temperature and light sensors, six calcium carbonate rate units (CAUs - provided by NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, CRED program), hardware, and software. The participants received training on the use of these tools to determine water quality through measuring pH (acidity and alkalinity) and nutrient runoff (nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates). They will go on to share these tools with their students and collaborate with the PICRC, UH, and Stanford for a first-of-its-kind study on OA, encompassing a geographical region reaching north and south of the equator and west and east of the international dateline.

“Climate change has emerged as a critical issue for the Pacific Islands, with some islands already experiencing measureable impacts tided to elevated sea surface temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification,” reflected Newtson. “The workshop provided training and tools for me and my students to begin monitoring the impacts of climate change here at home. It has also given me the opportunity to meet with climate change experts as well as other community college faculty from around the Pacific to discuss and share climate change curriculum and the challenges we have as educators in the face of climate change.” Incidentally, one of the workshop facilitators was Lauren Wetzell, a former ASCC Marine Science instructor who now serves as Education and Communication Specialist for the University of Hawaii Kewalo Marine Laboratory.

“American Samoa is not exempt from the impacts of climate change,” Newtson explained. “Coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels are occurring locally. It is my obligation to educate students of American Samoa on these issues and how we can adapt to this ever-changing world. This workshop has given me the tools, training, and classroom materials to be successfu at this. Once all the community colleges from the workshop have their tools deployed, the data that we collect can be shared amongst us, and used in the class- room by instructors for lectures, by the students for class projects, and by resource management agencies and researchers interested in monitoring climate change.”

The workshop was part of an eight-year ongoing effort to build Pacific islander capacity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – or STEM fields – funded by the National Science Foundation for the Advancement of Technology Education (NSF-ATE). Thus far, the NSF-ATE for Pacific Islanders program has increased STEM enrollment, achieved high levels of retention and graduation, and promoted student success through entry into STEM related careers and/or pursuit of four-year and post graduate degrees. The key goals in this effort are to: improve the technologies available to the students at the community colleges; train Pacific island students for the key STEM jobs in their regions; and support capacity development at the institutional and community levels. The ultimate goal of the program is to build place-based cohorts skilled to address the environmental challenges faced by their homelands, and reduce the reliance on expatriate and outside expertise.

For more information on the Marine Science program at ASCC, visit the College’s website at www.amsamoa.edu. (Portions of this story were contributed by Lauren Wetzell, UH Kewalo Marine Laboratory).

 


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From left, ASCC Management Information Systems Director Grace Tulafono, Institutional Effectiveness Director Sonny Leomiti and Dean of Academic Affairs Letupu Moananu are seen during the working sessions for the Self-Study prepared by ASCC as part of the WASC accreditation process. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC Vice President of Administration Dr. Rosevonne Pato (left) and Accreditation Liaison/Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle are seen during the working sessions for the Self-Study prepared by ASCC as part of the WASC accreditation process. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i (right) and Community & Natural Resources Dean/Director Tapaau Dr. Dan Aga are seen during the working sessions for the Self-Study prepared by ASCC as part of the WASC accreditation process. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC Learning Resource Director Elvis Zodiacal (left) and Teacher Education Department Director Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan are seen during the working sessions for the Self-Study prepared by ASCC as part of the WASC accreditation process. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Completes Accreditation Self-Study

July 21, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

At its meeting on Friday, July 18th, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) gave its approval to a document the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has spent the better part of eight months preparing. With the Board’s approval, ASCC may now submit its Self-Study to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A team representing the ACCJC will review the ASCC Self-Study in advance of making a site visit to the College in September of this year as part of the WASC accreditation renewal process.

Institutions accredited by WASC are reviewed on a six-year cycle, which involves not only a site visit but also an extensive Self-Study in which the administration, faculty and staff of a college or university collaborate to address in detail how their institution meets the standards determined by WASC. Upon submission, a team of ACCJC representatives conducts a careful reading of the Self-Study to determine their priority areas for further inquiry in advance of the actual site visit.

While the process may sound straightforward enough, addressing the WASC standards in fact requires careful review of data from the past six years, explanation of the institution’s methods and rationales, and an honest analysis of the institution’s own strengths and weaknesses. ASCC began work on its Self-Study in December of 2013, with a Steering Committee directing the overall process and 11 subcommittees formed to focus on the four main WASC standards. Each subcommittee comprised eight to 12 members representing the administration, faculty and staff, and the head of each subcommittee was also a member of the Steering Committee. In total, more than 150 ASCC personnel contributed to the effort.

The four areas the WASC standards focus on are Mission, Academic Quality and Institutional Effectiveness; Student Learning Programs and Support Services; Resources; and Leadership and Governance. The Self-Study is expected to address a number of specific concerns branching off from each of these areas, which meant that each subcommittee needed to collaborate not only on forming responses, but also on finding the necessary references and data to lend their answers credibility. Throughout spring 2014, work on the Self-Study proceeded as the committee members balanced meeting sessions with the regular duties that an in-progress semester entails. The effort accelerated following the spring commencement in May, and concluded this month when the Steering Committee completed its final review and the BHE approved the resulting document.

On behalf of ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i, Accreditation Liaison and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle thanked the Steering Committee and Subcommittee members for their months of work on the Self-Study. Dr. Kolhoff-Belle also reflected on how the Self-Study process provides those who participate with an opportunity to better understand the institution’s inner-workings and its philosophical foundation of student-centeredness. “Through the self study process we look at all the institutional activities with the focus of how they contribute to student learning and how they help ASCC meet its mission," she said. “We know we are all here for the students, but it is good to make deliberate links throughout the process and ask ourselves what we can do better.”

The Self-Study Steering Committee consisted of President Dr. Seth Galea’i; Dr. Kolhoff-Belle, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs; Dr. Rosevonne Pato, Vice President of Administrative Services; Tapaau Dr. Dan Aga, Dean/Director, Community & Natural Resources; Mrs. Emey Silafau-Toa, Chief Financial Officer; Mrs. Letupu Moananu, Dean of Academic Affairs; Dr. Emilia Le’i, Dean of Student Services; Mr. Michael Leau, Dean of Trades & Technology; Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan, Dean of Teacher Education; Ms. Grace Tulafono, Chief Information Officer; Mrs. Sereima Asifoa, Director of Human Resources; Mr. Sonny Leomiti, Director of Institutional Effectiveness; Mr. Elvis Zodiacal, Director of Learning Resource Center; Mrs. Keseta Okenaisa Fauolo-Manila, Director of Samoan Studies Institute; Ms. Tafaimamao Tupuola, Director of University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities; and Ms. Sifagatogo Tuitasi, Director of Admissions, Registrar & Financial Aid Office.

 


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Sharing a happy moment at the ASCC Nursing Department's Recognition Ceremony this past Friday are (l-r) Department of Commerce Director and keynote speaker Keniseli Lafaele, ASCC Nursing chairperson Lele Ah Mu, new LPN Ria Lefiti, and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale who spoke on behalf of ASG. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Nursing Department Holds 2014 Recognition Ceremony

July 15, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

22 young men and women who have completed their studies with the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) in the areas of Practical Nursing (LPN) and Registered Nursing (RN) were honored during the Nursing Department’s Recognition Ceremony this past Friday at the Lee Auditorium. Family and friends, along with government, health care and ASCC dignitaries, filled the venue to celebrate along with the Nursing students as they received their ceremonial nurse’s pins and caps.

Mistress of ceremonies and Nursing Department chairperson Lele Ah Mu welcomed the audience and acknowledged the presence of the many special guests, including Board of Higher Education chairman Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva'aetasi, ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i, ASCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle, and the College’s Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu. Following the entry procession of the Nursing students and the opening hymn, Rev. Faatauvaa Alaelua Talamoni of Pago Pago EFKAS provided the Invocation, followed by special remarks from Dr. Kolhoff-Belle on behalf of the College and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale on behalf of the American Samoa Government.

The evening’s keynote speaker, Department of Commerce Director Keniseli Lafaele, reminded the students of the ceremony’s theme, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” a quote from Mahatma Ghandi. He included an anecdote about a local woman who long ago dreamed of becoming a nurse, but had to put aside that goal to instead concentrate on raising her family. “She instead took a job with the cannery,” reminisced Lafaele, “and I think she took some comfort in the cannery worker’s white uniform, which reminded her of a nurse outfit.” Lafaele was speaking of his own mother, and he explained how he wished to share her story as a gentle reminder to the Nursing students that they should fully appreciate the opportunity to serve their community in a way some dream of but fate intervenes.

Nursing Department adjunct faculty member Toaga Seumalo, RN MSN, called each student for the placing of their pins and caps, which was performed by their family members under the guidance of Tofiga Tufele, President of the American Samoa Nurses Association and LBJ Director of Nursing Simamao Tuatoo. Following the pinning, capping, recitation of the Nurses Pledge, the LPN and RN groups each expressed their appreciation through spokespersons Ria Lefiti representing the former and Setoga Siatu’u the latter. Next, Tofiga Tufele, President of the American Samoa Nurses Association, presented the awards for the highest overall scores in the respective areas of theory and clinical practicum for both groups. The PN awards for theory went to Sinatina'e Leaupepe in the area of theory, and to Maria Moya Bejer in clinical practicum. Setoga Siatuu took the RN award for theory, with Audrey Mauga receiving the distinction in practicum.

A new addition to the ASCC Nursing Recognition Ceremony is the Iva “Alofa” Pisia Salazar Award. Born in American Samoa, Pisia received certification as an LPN in the local Nursing Program many years before it became associated with ASCC. She subsequently relocated to the mainland US, became Mrs. Salazar, and found that the requirements of raising a family precluded her from practicing as a full-time nurse. However, she encouraged her children to study for the health care fields. Pisia-Salazar’s children subsequently achieved a level of success in health care that has enabled them to establish a scholarship in memory of their mother, who passed away last year. Pisia’s daughter Vailala Gregory presented the scholarship award to two recipients, Setoga Fa’aolatia Siatu’u and Shane John Chen, based on their application essays.

This year’s Practical Nursing (LPN) recipients are Easter Peleiupu Aulava; Moya Gonzales Bejer; Lina Fa’afetai; Olatagasimealelei Fanolua; Joyce Fiasili Fou; Fa’afetai Ifopo, LPN; Sinaletina’e Jermane Leaupepe, LPN; Ria Su’esu’e Lefiti, LPN; and Emele Marlene Tulafono.

Recognized in the area of Registered Nursing (RN) are Shane John Chen; Staniel Vincent Dimaya; Fa’asilitama’ita’i Feleti; Senerita Letufuga; Audrey Jean Ivona Mauga; Tu’uasoitagata Camilla Panama; Ritchell Cruz Toribio; Renna Pule Salanoa; Marsha Alivia Scratch; Don Eric Sebastian; Setoga Fa’aolatia Siatu’u, RN; Fa’afetai Mataipule Taulealo and To’elau Tuiasosopo-Ufivelesili.

 


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ASCC Trades & Technology Dean Michael Leau (left) is one of the coordinators of "Safety Fest Week" which will take place July 21st-25th. Leau is seen here with Nick King of Pacific Petroleum, one of the partners in the American Samoa Industrial Health & Safety Association (ASISHA) who are hosting the event. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-TTD and ASISHA Coordinating “Safety Fest” This Month

July 9, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The recently-formed American Samoa Industrial Health & Safety Association (ASISHA) is organizing a “Safety Fest Week” from July 21st to 25th for the local businesses and interested government agencies. The event will include presentations and trainings by representatives from the US Department of Labor/OSHA Region IX and the UC San Diego Extension - OSHA Training Institute Education Center, safety compliance specialists from Illinois, as well as local safety compliance specialists.

ASISHA came into being as a result of discussions on local industrial safety concerns, with American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Trades & Technology Division (TTD) Dean Michael Leau, and Pacific Petroleum officials Will Sword and Nick King among the participants. With Leau, Sword and King taking on the primary organizing roles, a group was formed whose purpose Leau defined as “to provide local businesses and the community who deal with safety and health issues with an avenue to share their concerns and needs so these can be represented as one unified voice.” ASISHA membership currently includes safety compliance officers and professionals representing Star Kist, Tri Marine, McConnell Dowell, Fletcher Construction, Origin Gas, Samoa Maritime, Stevens Training Consultants, ASG, ASTCA, and ASPA.

“We initially began discussions this past November about holding a conference which would provide awareness on safety and health issues that related to local industries and their respective issues,” explained Leau. “It emerged that we had a lot of common issues and that working together as a group would provide better services and resources to the entire group.”

With the safety compliance needs of local industries in mind, trainings during “Safety Fest Week” will give local professionals an opportunity to earn OSHA 10 hour safety cards in three areas: Construction, General and Maritime Industry. These trainings will take place in the morning from 8 a.m. to noon, and will concurrently, so participants are advised to choose just one of the three areas. During the afternoon, additional training s will be offered which all participants, regardless of specialization area, are welcome to enroll in. These include American Road Transportation Builders Association’s Rollovers/Backovers; Roadway Work Zone Safety; OSHA 7115 Lockout/Tagout; Four-Hour Industrial Power Truck Operator Training (Fork Lift); HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response); and OSHA Record Keeping requirements. Each of the trainings has an enrollment limit of 40 participants.

According to Leau, with ASISHA still in its early stages of development, it will be organizing its by-laws and choosing its officers following the conclusion of “Safety Fest Week.” “We’re open to any company or government agency that is interested in joining our group,” he said. “We’re looking at making this an annual effort to organize this conference and other trainings that would benefit our community, reduce the costs of certifying safety compliance professionals, and to assure a safer work environment.

To cover costs associated with bringing the trainers to the Territory, ASISHA will be charging an individual registration fee as well as requesting a donation from each participating company. Companies who make the donation can have their employees enrolled in the courses for a reduced registration fee. For more information, contact Michael Leau at 699-9155, ext. 472 or 369, or Will Sword or Nick King of Pacific Petroleum at 633-4101.

 


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The American Samoa Area Health Education Center visiting party to Aunuu gathers at the wharf in Auasi. Pictured left to right are: Doris Bahunsua, Mekeli Tia, Sailitafa Samoa, Tala Ueligitone, Pauline Auvaa, Charles Egesdal and Marquita Granda. (Courtesy Photo) Members of the American Samoa Area Health Education Center visiting party to Aunuu relax on the beach following their work. Seen here left to right are Matauitafa Faiai, Mekeli Tia, Pauline Auvaa, Doris Bahunsua, Tanya Mapu, Marquita Granda. Behind: Charles Egesdal and Michael J. Sword-Curry. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-ASAHEC Conducts Outreach on Aunuu

July 7, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC), hosted by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), conducted an outreach visit to Aunuu in late June as part of their mission to increase health care professionals in rural and underserved areas, identify health education needs, increase health awareness and support the local healthcare workforce. “Our trip to Aunuu gave our students a chance to experience healthcare settings in rural areas and experience being part of a team that delivers it,” said ASAHEC Director Ms. Sailitafa Samoa.

The ASAHEC group who made the trip consisted of Ms. Samoa and participants at different levels in their healthcare training. Some are taking prerequisite courses, two will be starting in a nursing program soon, one is in a medical program, and another has recently finished her advanced nursing program. Samoa and ASCC students: Pauline Auva’a, Doris Bahunsua, MJ Sword-Curry, Tanya Mapu, Mekeli Tia and Kimberly Ueligitone were joined by Mata’uitafa Faiai, a third year biology student with Chaminade University; Marquita Granda, who has completed her studies at UH Manoa to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse/ Family Nurse Practitioner; and Charles Egesdal, currently a student of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii.

“Our main goal was to have the residents understand how to make better choices and help prevent illness.,” explained Ms. Samoa. For this purpose, the visiting ASAHEC team set up four different stations. The first was for registration of adults and weight measurement, the second for recording their height, the third for taking their blood pressure, and the fourth to measure their waist circumference and health education one on one. Ms. Samoa, who is a Registered Nurse, provided the health education along with Marquita Granda and Charles Egesdal. Tanya Mapu assisted them by translating when needed. Mata’uitafa Faiai and Doris Bahunsua, led the team through games for the island’s children, alternating with information on 12 healthy habits for them to practice daily.

Ms. Samoa described as “very positive” the overall response from the Aunuu community to the morning’s activities. “They were receptive and ready to learn and the children had a great time also,” she said. The ASAHEC Director also noted that Aunuu offers an opportunity for further development in health services and health education. “In order to prevent more chronic conditions so prevalent in American Samoa, ASAHEC would like to collaborate with the existing Department of Health and Social Services programs to deliver care and screening to Aunuu residents and then track them periodically to determine the effectiveness of the health education and whether their needs are being met,” Ms. Samoa reflected. “There is currently no center or health facility on Aunu’u. Some of the residents are requesting one, and it would empower the people in Aunu’u tremendously. This could be an opportunity to develop future healthcare occupations. Support is also needed for the caregivers of the elderly and residents of all ages with chronic conditions.”

For visiting Advanced Practice Registered Nurse/ Family Nurse Practitioner Marquita Granda, the visit highlighted the contrast between the traditional versus the modern lifestyle of our island. “It seemed that the people of Aunuu were in some ways healthier than the general population on Tutuila,” she observed. “I think it can be attributed to their being a more agricultural-based community. They exercise frequently, eat food from the land, and have limited access to fast food. However, there continues to be a great need for improved access to care, disease prevention, and health promotion.”

For more information on the American Samoa Area Health Education Center, visit their website at: http://www.ahec.hawaii.edu/centers/american_samoa.html.

 


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Rachel Novotny (right), Principle Investigator for the Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Program, is interviewed by La Posasa of KHJ Radio. The CHL held its Annual Meeting in the Territory earlier this month, an event attended by participants from across the American Pacific, and hosted by ASCC-CNR. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-CNR Hosts Annual CHL Meeting

June 6, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Children’s Healthy Living (CHL) Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region concluded its fourth annual meeting earlier this month, an event sponsored by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division, the local CHL partner. The CHL, through partnerships across Hawaii, Alaska and the American Pacific, strives to train a public health nutrition work force; to conduct public health nutrition research; to develop a food, nutrition, and physical activity data management and evaluation system; and to communicate nutrition and health related information to the public.

“We support positive systems for health and environments that encourage healthy living,” explained CHL Principal Investigator Rachel Novotny, PhD, RDN, who is also Professor and Chair of the Nutrition PhD Program at UH Manoa. We aim to prevent obesity in children as a primary intervention of non-communicable disease, and to leave a legacy of Pacific wellness.”

Meeting participants included CHL partners from Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk. “We worked on identifying and supporting community based actions that modify the environment to make it easier for children to eat more healthfully and to be more active,” explained Novotny of the meeting’s purpose. “We are planning for analyses of information collected in communities, and for policies that can be enacted that support this endeavor.”

In addition to policy discussions, the meeting itinerary included field trips to local intervention sites including Leloaloa (Mary the Mother Montessori School), Alofau Elementary School, and Early Childhood Education centers in Aua and Masefau. “We were humbled by the effort made by CNR, and appreciative of the warm welcome and friendliness of the people,” said Novotny. Asked for advice the average family might keep in mind to promote better health, she offered some general guidelines. “Healthy routines are key to a healthy diet,” Novotny observed. “Fresh local food is usually healthful and nutritious. Drink more clean water and fewer sugar sweetened beverages, and eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, many portion sizes can be decreased.”

In the near future, Novotny foresees a continuation and expansion of the work CHL has begun. “We have worked to further focus our efforts to improve the environment in our communities so children can eat healthy local food, engage in active play and get needed sleep,” she said. “We are preparing to further strengthen these efforts in the upcoming year. We seek to expand partnerships with schools, churches, governments and other organizations that are also working in this area. We have gathered information to help us identify and support Pacific-wide ways to health, and we are organizing this information for reports we can share with communities to encourage system and policy changes that can sustain healthier living.” For more information on CHL, visit their web page at: www.chl-pacific.org.

 


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ASCC student Ms. Ruta Ropeti (left), an assistant with the American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC) is congratulated by ASAHEC Director Sailitafa Samoa after being selected by the Future Public Health Leaders Program to attend its 10-week summer internship in Michigan. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Student Accepted to FPHLP Summer Internship

June 4, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP), funded by the Center for Disease Control, is designed to encourage underrepresented college students to consider careers in public health. Housed in the Office of Public Health Practice at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the FPHLP seeks to strengthen the current and future public health workforce through applied research, education, training, and service. Ms. Ruta Ropeti, a student at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), departed the Territory in late May to take part in the FPHLP 10-week residential summer program to encourage careers in public health, currently in progress and continuing through August 1st.

Ms. Ropeti intends to graduate from ASCC this fall with an Associate of Science degree in Health Science, and she also has a strong interest in entering the field of Nursing. This past summer, she volunteered with the American Samoa Area Health Education Center (ASAHEC), located on the ASCC campus, where she has since risen to the paid position of Program Assistant. Ms. Ropeti works alongside ASAHEC Director Sailitafa Samoa to organize the outreach activities and other events hosted by ASAHEC. “My goal is to become a health care professional,” she said. “There are many different heath care careers out there, and going on this internship will help me narrow down my options.”

Through her Health & Human Services classes at ASCC with Dr. Daniel Chang, Ms. Ropeti gained an awareness of the different aspects of the health care field. She worked as an intern in the Radiology Department at LBJ Hospital, and also went on home visits with the Department of Health. “I loved both experiences,” she said. “This is why I’m still debating which area of health care I want to pursue as a career.” She traces her interest in health care back to elementary school, and has been able to develop her skills in the field at ASCC through a double major in Health Science and Nursing. “It’s no secret that American Samoa is in need of health professionals,” she said. “We need doctors, nurses, and many other kinds of specialists, so this has been a motivation for me.”

During the FPHLP summer program, Ms. Ropeti will be among 50 students from across the nation. Following an orientation in Atlanta, the entire group will travel to Michigan, where they will be assigned into five groups of 10 students each and given projects to work on. “We’ll be in different areas,” she explained, “such as community organizations, health systems, or government organizations. Workshops, seminars and field trips have been scheduled for us. At the end of the summer, we’ll present the findings from our projects to the Michigan School of Public Health.” Ms. Ropeti’s travel and living costs are covered by the FPHLP, who will also provide the students with stipends for personal expenses.

ASAHEC Director Sailitafa Samoa expressed enthusiasm for Ms. Ropeti’s participation in the internship. “This will open up great opportunities for other students in the future,” she said. Both the ASAHEC Director and Ms. Ropeti expressed their gratitude to Public Health Director Tuileama Nua and Occupational Therapist Mrs. Ipu Eliapo-Unutoa for making them aware of the FPHLP opportunity, and to Dr. Chang and ASCC Science Department chairman Mr. Randel Dewees for providing letters of recommendation.

Ms. Ropeti also expressed her gratitude to Dr. Sela Panapasa, research scientist in the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and Relando Thompkins, FPHLP Program Coordinator, which whom she conducted a phone interview prior to being chosen for the internship. “The both of us were so moved and impacted so greatly by Ruta's interview that we knew even before we hung up the phone that we just had to have her to come and be a part of our program,” said Thompkins via email. For more information on the FPHLP, visit their website at: http://fphlp.sph.umich.edu.

 


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Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Project Principal Investigator Rachel Novotny (front, center) is welcomed by ASCC-CNR staff including Director Tapaau Dr. Dan Aga (back, far left) and American Samoa CHL Co-Principal Investigator Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta (back, far right). Novotny and CHL agents from across the American Pacific will gather here for the CHL Annual Meeting, beginning this Saturday, and hosted by CNR. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-CNR to Host Annual CHL Meeting

May 30, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Children’s Healthy Living (CHL) Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region is a partnership among remote US states and territories including Alaska, American Samoa, the Common wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. These jurisdictions, which have US Land Grant Colleges, are united in the Pacific Land Grant Alliance, and are combining efforts to train a public health nutrition work force; to conduct public health nutrition research; to develop a food, nutrition, and physical activity data management and evaluation system; and to communicate nutrition and health related information to the public.

The American Samoa arm of CHL is the Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division of the American Samoa Community College, where efforts have been underway for the past two years to engage the community in awareness of childhood obesity and steps that can be taken to mitigate it. CNR will welcome to the Territory representatives from the above-mentioned regions when it hosts the Fourth Annual CHL Conference, beginning this Saturday, June 7th, and concluding on Friday, June 13th.

Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta, CNR Associate Director and CHL American Samoa Lead Site Investigator, explained that the broad goal of meeting is to capitalize on the synergy of face-to-face interaction between CHL representatives from the many different locations of the program in order to promote integration amongst the collective CHL team. Participants will have the opportunity to share updates on their intervention and training activities, present and discuss analytic progress on baseline data, develop CHL preliminary work plan goals for Pacific-wide data systems and Pacific policy development, develop optimized intervention and dissemination plans, and plan for future grant opportunities to carry on the CHL goals.

“We’re looking forward to the synergy that is produced from this once a year, face to face meeting,” said Aufa’i, “which will also allow the American Samoa team the opportunity to showcase their hard work over the past few years!” The majority of the meeting activities will take place in the Lee Auditorium, but CNR will also present an ava ceremony on the opening day in the Toe Timata Le Upega (Faletele) at Su’igaula Park in Utulei, as well as a field trip to local intervention sites including Leloaloa (Mary the Mother Montessori School), Fagaitua CCCAS, Alofau Elementary School, and Early Childhood Education centers in Aua, Fagaitua and Masefau.

Because the meeting agenda will focus on internal CHL priorities, the meeting sessions will not be open to the public. However, a summary of the meeting results will appear in the local media following the conclusion of the event.

 


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ASCC students Ms. Clarice Cokanasiga (right).along with her cousin Uisa Taufa'asau, celebrates receiving the 2014 Alumni Association Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded each semester by the Alumni Association to a student who is making significant progress but does not qualify for federal financial aid. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Alumni Association Awards Spring 2014 Scholarship

May 23, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Alumni Association has announced the recipient of its spring 2014 scholarship as Clarice Cokanasiga of Fagaalu. Miss Cokanasiga was born in Fiji but has made American Samoa her home for the past 11 years. As an ASCC student with an interest in both Business and Nursing, Miss Cokanasiga’s Fijian citizenship precludes her from being eligible for the Pell grant and other financial aid resources available to most American Samoa students entering college. “The scholarship will greatly reduce my tuition balance,” she said, “allowing me to pre-register for my needed classes in the coming semester.”

Miss Cokanasiga attended elementary school at the South Pacific International Christian Center and graduated from Samoana High School in 2011. At ASCC, in addition to her studies she has a work-study job with the American Samoa College Research Foundation, and is also a member of the Foundation Club. Her interest in Nursing comes partially from her experience as a volunteer with Helping Hands, where she has taken part in early intervention projects involving infants.

The award was presented during a ceremony earlier this month attended by the Alumni Association officers as well as family and friends of Miss Cokanasiga. During the ceremony, the Association’s President Mrs. Amio Mavaega-Luvu spoke of the pride the organization takes in assisting promising students who do not have access to financial aid. “Many in the Territory who are not American citizens or nationals still make valuable contributions to the community,” she said, “and the Association feels it’s important to offer support to students in this social category who are seeking educational opportunities.”

The Alumni Association funds its scholarship through various projects each semester, as well as donations from the community. In addition to presenting the scholarship award of $500 to Miss Cokanasiga, the Association also honored with a framed certificate of appreciation its most outstanding donor this semester, Rev. Fa'atauao M. Feleti. Rev. Feleti is the father of Mr. Evile Feleti of the Samoan Studies Department, as well as the current Vice President of the Alumni Association. Other Association supporters recognized during the ceremony were Faiivae Godinet of Godinet Rentals, Daleen Vaivai of KS Mart, Nina Fiamalua of Tony’s Bar & Grill, Ernest Sevaaetasi of Trophies and Things, and Representative Taotasi Archie Soliai.

For more information on the ASCC Alumni Association, contact Mr. Evile Feleti at 699-9155, extension 323.

 


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60th Commencement Ceremony:
Friday, May 16, 2014

May 21, 2014

By ASCC Staff

The 60th ASCC Commencement Ceremony took place on Friday, May 16th, beginning with an invocation delivered by Rev. Fa’atauva’a A. Talamoni, who spoke about wisdom and knowledge, and challenged the graduates to “continue to strive for greatness, and let God fulfill your dreams and goals.” Welcoming remarks were offered by ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i and special remarks were made by Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

Between speakers, a special song was performed by Tonya Tuigamala, a well-received rendition of LeeAnn Womack’s hit, “I Hope You Dance.”The Commencement Address was delivered by Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona, the Director of the Dept. of Human and Social Services who urged the graduates to always be respectful and stay true to their Samoan culture and heritage. “There is a strong correlation between successful and respectful,” Taeaoafua told the graduates, as he challenged the graduates to love and honor their parents and to stay close to God. “No matter where you may go in life and how successful you will be, if you do not honor and respect your parents, then you have failed,” he said.

The DHSS Director told the graduates that American Samoa is unlike any other place in the world, and that is why it is crucial for them, the youth, to continue to hold on and cherish our traditions and culture, including our language. Recalling how he was once a student Taeaoafua said he is living proof that everyone starts from the bottom and work their way towards the top. “After so many years of hard work and service, I have become who I am today,” he told the graduates, adding that even though he has a matai title and leads one of the largest departments in the American Samoa Government, one can still catch him doing domestic duties as part of his service to his family, village and church. “Believe in yourself,” Taeaoafua reiterated. “Don’t let anyone else’s voice drown out your inner voice and what your heart tells you.”

Following Taeaoafua’s inspiring address, recognition of the graduates was next on the program. As has become standard with ASCC, there is no valedictorian or salutatorian award, but the top two graduates with the highest grade point average are still acknowledged. This semester the Summa Cum Laude (grade point average of 3.90-4.00) graduate was Jireh Kaylani Kruse, followed by Anna Imelda Afoa, who graduated Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.75-3.89).

In addition to the graduates, who received their Associate of Arts degrees, nine graduates received their Certificate of Proficiency in Practical Nursing, while Fa’aletaua Saili was the lone graduate in the ASCC Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education Program. Mile Farani received a Master of Public Administration from American Public University, while Seugatalitasi Custodio, Cassandra La’apui, and Patrick Tom Solia were all awarded a Master of Arts in Education from Ashford University. Amy Jennifer Rebelukag received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UH Manoa while Gloria Maiava-Tuigamala was awarded a Master of Arts in Education (Teacher Leadership) from the University of Phoenix. A Masters of Science in Nursing degree was awarded to Genevieve Ugaitafa.

The ASCC administration extends its appreciation to the Division of Student Services, the Student Government Association, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the ROTC Department, and all faculty, staff and students who contributed to making this semester’s graduation a success.

 


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ASCC spring 2014 graduate Ms. Sola Mailo displays her Outstanding Service Learning Award, presented during the Graduate Banquet & Awards Ceremony held several days prior to the College's 60th Commencement. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Graduate Banquet Celebrates Academic Achievement

May 21, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) spring 2014 Graduate Banquet & Awards Ceremony, honoring the outstanding academic achievements of the spring 2014 graduates, took place several days prior to the College’s 60th Commencement last week. With Princess Auva’a of the Student Government Association acting as the evening’s MC, the Banquet & Awards Ceremony began with welcoming remarks from the ASCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle, who congratulated the graduates on their achievements and wished them good luck for their future activities.

The ASCC Alumni Association, represented by President Mrs. Amio Mavaega-Luvu and Vice President Mr. Evile Feleti, presented the first awards of the evening to Jessica Mele Tuiletufuga for outstanding achievement in English, to Kiri Taylor for Math, and Vaoita M. Leifi for Samoan Studies. Next, Business Department chairperson Dr. Faofua Fa’atoafe recognized Si’itupe Paul Peko as the semester’s Outstanding Business Graduate, and also presented the Business Ambassadors of ASCC (BAOA) awards to Roseanne Togia for Outstanding Service, Tala Lewis for Outstanding Character, Togasi’i Peter Peko for Outstanding Citizenship, and another award to Si’itupe Paul Peko for Outstanding Leadership.

Service Learning Coordinator Mrs. Elisapeta Faalafi-Jones recognized another Business major, Sola Mailo, as the recipient of this semester’s Outstanding Service Learning Award. Mrs. Pauline Tuitele-McFall of Community & Natural Resources presented the division’s Outstanding Student Award to Savili Mann. This semester’ Fine Arts Award was presented by chairman Kuki Tuiasosopo to Miracle Sala for achievements in Music. Mrs. Matesina Willis of the ASCC College Research Foundation announced this semester’s recipient of the Foundation Club Award as Darlene Gilreath.

Following an entertainment break by vocalists Tonya Tuigamala and Jason Hollister, Student Government Association (SGA) coordinator Maxine Tuiolemotu presented the SGA Awards to graduating members Talimeli Taufete’e (Student Representative to the Board of Higher Education), Visa Vaiau (Treasurer), Jessebeth Ropeti (Sophomore Representative) and Raela Ta’ala (also Sophomore Representative). The Trades & Technology Division, represented by instructor Mr. Adullum Esera, recognized Pene Vaisagote as this semester’s recipient of the Dean’s Award.

Usually scheduled for several days before Graduation, the Graduate Banquet & Awards Ceremony provides the graduates-to-be with a social event to mark the conclusion of their time at the College, and also with an opportunity to recognize the special achievements of the award winners. The event is organized by the ASCC Student Services Division, under the leadership of Dr. Emilia Le’i. All award recipients are determined by the respective ASCC divisions and academic departments, with the assistance of Mrs. Sifagatogo Tuitasi, Director of the Admission, Records and Financial Aid Office.

 


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ASCC student Mona Chang meets with Larry Gamboa, Chief Human Resources Officer of the University of Guam, during the Center for Island Sustainability Conference held earlier this semester in Guam. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC Student Attends Guam Conference on Sustainability

May 13, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Ms. Mona Chang, a student at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) carries a double major in Nursing and Health Science, serves as the current President of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and has also taken an active role in the newly established International Students Organization. Even with all this activity on campus, for Ms. Chang the highlight of the spring 2014 semester was a trip to Guam late last month to represent American Samoa at the Regional Island Sustainability Conference, sponsored by the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability (CIS).

“Sustainability is all about producing enough of something without too much damage to the environment,” explained Ms. Chang. “For American Samoa, we're looking into sustainable production of food, while for Guam, it's more about sustaining energy and clean fuels.” Based on her previous research into the impact of pork production on land use in the United States, Ms. Chang was informed of the opportunity to attend the CIS conference by Dr. Otto Hansel of the College’s Community & Natural Resources (CNR) Division. He had in turn had received notice of the event from President Dr. Seth Galea’i and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff, both of whom Dr. Hansel cited as “instrumental” in arranging for an ASCC student to attend the conference. To help her prepare for discussions on sustainability in American Samoa, Dr. Hansel accompanied Ms. Chang on visits to the chicken farm in Taputimu as well as the CNR chicken coop and piggery.

Considering the impact piggeries, and to a lesser extend chicken farms have on the environment, finding a sustainable model of local pork production continues to be a challenge for farmers in American Samoa. “People here who have piggeries should look into finding ways in which they don't fully rely on the pig feed that's being imported into the island,” said Ms. Chang. “Although it doesn't affect most of us directly, the amount of land being used overseas to provide that pig feed is increasing dramatically, which also increases the carbon and water footprint. This has all environmentalists on their toes constantly looking for ways to maximize product with minimal to no impact on the environment.”

Having become familiar with local sustainability issues, Ms. Chang departed for the conference with her travel and accommodation paid for by the University of Guam. Presenters included students from Hawaii, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, with topics of discussion ranging from the ongoing development of energy efficient houses to the debate over the environmental effects Liquefied Natural Gasses. While the conference only lasted two days, Ms. Chang enjoyed the company of other young men and women with a similar interest in sustainability for the islands that comprise the American Pacific. “New connections were made, and I hope to attend the same conference next year,” she said.

The conference hardly marks the end of Ms. Chang’s involvement in the field of science. “This summer, I will be in Hawaii as an undergraduate researcher at UH Manoa, and will continue to increase my knowledge and experience in scientific research,” she said. “I'm hoping to graduate from ASCC with my Health Science degree this fall. My long-range plan is to become a vet and someday come back to help the animals of American Samoa.”

To find out more about the Center for Island Sustainability, visit their website: http://www.uog.edu/center-for-island-sustainability/center-for-island-sustainability-cis.

 


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ASCC Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu (right) and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Evelyn Gibbs-Fruean recently returned from Hawaii, where they renewed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between ASCC and the major universities and colleges in the Aloha State. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Renews Articulation with Hawaii Universities

May 8, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu returned in early May after attending a successful series of meetings in Hawaii, accompanied by Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Evelyn Gibbs-Fruean, to re-articulate the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASCC and six Hawaii universities regarding the transferability of ASCC courses to those institutions.

Mrs. Moananu and Mrs. Gibbs-Fruean met with officials from Chaminade University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii Pacific University, Brigham Young University – Hawaii, and Kapiolani Community College. “The purpose of this trip was to re-articulate an agreement for all ASCC General Education courses and the Core Foundational Areas with each institution. The majority of the Memorandum of Understandings listed in the ASCC 2012-2014 catalog exist for an agreed-upon period of time, and thereafter need to be revisited for re-evaluation. We needed to discuss the articulating of ASCC General Education courses for the transferability of our graduates.”

In the academic world, the term “articulate” has to do with the credits earned from courses taken at one institution being recognized by another institution. In very general terms, credits earned in most courses numbered 100 and above will be recognized by another institution, although this may vary according to the respective standards and policies of each individual institution. Articulation MOUs generally cover a set number of years, after which the partnering institutions hold discussions to ensure that the necessary standards of compatibility for the continuation of the MOU are met.

“In addition to the new articulation of General Education courses, ASCC students are able to transfer to the universities we met with to continue their studies towards a Bachelor's degree in many degree programs at a junior level, because the majority of ASCC General Education requirements are equivalent to these institutions’ own General Education courses,” explained Mrs. Gibbs-Fruean. “We accomplished a new and/or revised Articulation Agreement with the institutions that we visited. ASCC graduates from fall 2014 to fall 2018 will be able to transfer to any of these institutions without taking additional General Education courses to fulfill the requirements of a specific degree program.”

Dean Moananu reiterated the success of the Hawaii meetings. “All of the above Universities aside from BYU-Hawaii are currently working on renewing the existing MOUs which should be signed and documented by the end of summer,” she said. “Our MOU with BYU-Hawaii won't expire until the end of the year, so it's good until spring 2015. Also, aside from General Education and core foundational requirements, all courses currently in the catalog are being articulated by all universities for equivalency.”

Mrs. Gibbs-Fruean expressed her appreciation for the hospitality, cooperation and professionalism shown by all of the Hawaii institutions visited by her and Dean Moananu. For the full range of ASCC programs and courses, visit the ASCC website at: www.amsamoa.edu.

 


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ASCC spring 2014 Bachelor of Education prospective graduate Fa'aletaua Saili (left) engages the focus of a class of Pavaia'i Elementary students using music. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) Pavaia'i Elementary students bid fond farewell to ASCC spring 2014 Bachelor of Education prospective graduate Fa'aletaua Saili (center), who worked with them for a portion of the semester. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-TED Prospective Graduate Says “Being a Teacher is a Calling”

May 8, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Teacher Education student Ms. Fa’aletaua Saili, 23, of Nuuuli is on course to receive her Bachelor of Education degree during the 60th American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Commencement on Friday, May 16th. Ms. Saili completed the required student teaching portion of the B.Ed. program in early May when her students in Level-4 at Pavaia’i Elementary School participated in her “Culmination” exercise by giving a presentation based on the knowledge gained during their six weeks under her supervision. Before an small invited audience including Principal Tasha Atio’o and faculty from Pavaia’i and the ASCC Teacher Education Department (TED), Ms. Saili’s students offered a wide-ranging display on the many forms of diversity within the United States.

“I would love to teach Social Studies,” explained Ms. Saili. “I love learning about history, people, places and events, and helping students make a connection with past histories and gain a sense of appreciation for it.” She traces her interest in the teaching profession to her early experiences helping others in her church to learn. “Personally I feel that being a teacher is a calling,” she reflected. “I've always wanted to teach ever since I was young. Having church callings such as Primary and Sunday School teacher has helped me develop a sincere desire to pursue a degree in teaching.”

Ms. Saili graduated with honors from Tafuna High School in 2008. By fall 2010 she had completed an Associates of Arts degree at ASCC with a double major in Liberal Arts and Elementary Education. She started the B.Ed program in spring 2011, but when she was very near to completion she made the decision to put school on hold and serve on a full-time mission for the LDS Church. “I left home for 18 months to serve on my mission at Salt Lake City Temple Square in Utah and Santa Rosa Mission in California,” she said. “While serving my mission, my passion for teaching continued to grow, which I took as a confirmation that this was the path for my future.”

She resumed her studies with the ASCC-TED in fall of last year, and will soon be holding the B.Ed. degree she made it her goal to attain. “There are no words to fully express how grateful I am for the ASCC Teacher Education program,” she said. “I know it has helped me develop my teaching skills in and has equipped me with competence in a number of areas like content and pedagogy, the Samoan Language and culture, applying technology to teach and increase student achievement, designing and planning instruction that serves diverse learners, using a variety of assessments models, and the principles of professionalism.”

Following graduation, Ms. Saili hopes to secure a teaching position locally while continuing her studies towards a Masters degree by taking online courses. “I would highly recommend the ASCC-TED Bachelors program to young men and women who are thinking of becoming teachers,” she said. “The feeling of being an effective teacher is priceless! At the same time, I don’t regret putting school on hold while I served my mission, because I know and believe that it's never too late to continue your education.”

To find out more about the ASCC Teacher Education Department, visit the College’s website at: www.amsamoa.edu.

 


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Director of the Department of Human and Social Services Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona will be the Keynote Speaker at the 60th ASCC Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 16th. (Courtesy Photo)

Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona Keynote Speaker for 60th ASCC Commencement

May 6, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Director of the Department of Human and Social Services Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona has been confirmed as Keynote Speaker for the 60th American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Commencement Ceremony, to take place on Friday, May 16th, beginning at 10 a.m. in the College’s Gymnasium. Also confirmed to join the Commencement is Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, who will speak on behalf of Governor Lolo Moliga.

ASCC has a longstanding tradition of inviting distinguished guest speakers to make each commencement a memorable one, and Student Services Division Director Dr. Emilia Le’i said the College looks forward to welcoming Taeaoafua to share from the wealth of insights gathered during his many years of civic service. “Taeaoafua has long been recognized for his contributions to the community,” said Dr. Le’i, “and we take great honor in his joining us for this very special occasion.”

Taeaoafua ‘s education began at Fagatogo Elementary and Fiailoa Jr. High School in Utulei, before he traveled stateside to receive his diploma from Carson High School in Carson, California. His college career began with him earning a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Law from the University of California at Riverside. Both his Masters and Doctorate degrees were earned at the Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah.

On his return to American Samoa, he entered the field of education as first a classroom teacher, then Vice Principal and finally Principal of Samoana High School. He went on to serve in various capacities within the Department of Education, then continued his government service as Director of the Department of Commerce during the administration of the late Governor Uifa’atali Coleman and Lt. Governor Galea’i Poumele. Taeaoafua’s career path next led into the private sector with him taking several management positions with StarKist Samoa Company, but he returned to government service when in February 2013, he was appointed by Governor Lolo Moliga and Lt. Governor Lemanu Mauga to serve as Director of the Department of Human and Social Services.

The son of the late Reverend Si’ulagi Solomona and Fuarosa To’alepai, Taeaoafua is married to Vaofu’aomalo Soliai of Nuuuli, and has a daughter, Katerina Keli’iaione, who is pursuing a Bachelor in Education degree at ASCC. He serves as a matai with the Taeaoafua title from his Fa’ivae and Taeleifi families in Leone, and as Fofoga-o-Aiga of his Soliai family in Nuuuli. Taeaoafua is an active member of the community, frequently volunteering his time and talent in government programs, most notably as the “Voice of the Samoa Bowl.” He is also an active member of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa in Leone, where he serves as the Secretary for the congregation.

“On behalf of the Board of Higher Education, our President Dr. Seth Galea’i, and of the ASCC faculty and staff, we greatly look forward to Taeaoafua sharing his insights with our spring 2014 graduating class,” said Dr. Le’i. For more information on the 60th ASCC Commencement Ceremony, call the Student Services Division at 699-9155, ext. 376.

 


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Setting up a basic Aquaponics system requires neither much space nor much equipment. UH Sea Grant will offer a free Aquaponics workshop beginning Monday, May 12. Call 699-3353 for more information. (Courtesy Photo) Healthy, fresh lettuce can be grown using a simple Aquaponics system. UH Sea Grant will offer a free Aquaponics workshop beginning Monday, May 12. Call 699-3353 for more information.

ASCC-CNR and UH Sea Grant to Host “Building Capacity in Aquaponics” Workshop

May 2, 2014

By Kelley Anderson Tagarino

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Department of Community and Natural Resources (CNR), in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i’s Sea Grant College Program, is proud to host a workshop aimed at building capacity in aquaponics. This workshop will be held at the ASCC CNR’s conference room, with the hands-on portion taking place at the ASCC CNR’s Center for Sustainable Integrated Agriculture and Aquaculture (CSIAA) from May 12-14, 2014.

Workshop speakers will include Glenn Martinez and Natalie Cash from Olomana Gardens in O’ahu, HI, as well as speakers from local agencies. Topics to be covered include an overview of aquaponics system types, how to build an aquaponics system or convert an existing aquaculture or hydroponic system, plant management and production, fish management and production, and how to measure and maintain proper water quality. The ASCC CNR hopes to build on the interest and excitement created by last month’s DOA, DMWR, and CTSA aquaponics workshop.

The workshop begins Monday, May 12th at 9:00am in the ASCC CNR’s conference room. The workshop is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the local office of UH Sea Grant at 699-3353.

 


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ASCC student Sarojni Singh displays her 1st place winning work in the recent Art Poster Competition with the theme "Unity Among Diversity" sponsored by the International Student Organization. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC student Laura Saifoloi displays her 2nd place winning work in the recent Art Poster Competition with the theme "Unity Among Diversity" sponsored by the International Students Organization. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-ISO Poster Contest Celebrates Diversity

April 29, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

This past Tuesday, American Samoa Community College (ASCC) student Sarojni Singh emerged as the 1st place winner of an Art Poster contest sponsored by the ASCC International Student Organization (ISO) to promote the concept of “Unity among Diversity”. The contest was one of several activities the ISO held over the spring 2014 semester to raise awareness of the importance of accepting social diversity.

Established in fall 2013 under the leadership of ASCC Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i, the ISO’s mission is to provide a strong support system for international students attending ASCC. The organization strives to enhance diversity through cultural and social activities, and among their first projects were a pick-a-thon and a food drive for Hope House in March. In addition to regularly meeting to discuss way to promote diversity at ASCC, ISO members also provide academic support to one another.

In keeping with the ISO mission, the Art Poster contest gave the many young artists at the College an opportunity to showcase their talents by creating a piece that carried the message of the importance of social diversity. The organization also received assistance from local artist Mr. Mark Ashley Faulkner, who judged the winning submissions. “Originality and creativity were very essential in this contest,” said ISO advisor Mrs. Tala Leo. “It allowed students to be creative and think outside of the box what the theme ‘Unity among Diversity at ASCC’ means to them.”

Mrs. Leo said factors used in judging the contest submissions included the quality, design, composition and technique of the art piece. “Most importantly,” she clarified, “the art work needed to clearly represent the theme. It needed to be easily understood not only by the judge, but also by viewers.” With her piece judged as the strongest of the works submitted, Ms. Singh received a cash prize during a brief recognition ceremony on Tuesday to announce the contest winners, who also included Laura Saifoloi in 2nd place and Fi’a Vaeoso in 3rd place.

With their first full semester of activities now completed, Mrs. Leo said the ISO looks forward to coming together in the fall to continue promoting its message of social diversity. “A lot of people casually acknowledge that diversity is a good thing without really understanding the struggles that have taken place and continue to take place to achieve it,” she reflected. “It’s about respecting differences and seeing diversity as a strength rather than a problem. In a world where differences cause so much conflict, there’s no such thing as too much acceptance of diversity.”

For more information on the International Student Organization, contact Mrs. Leo at 699-9155, ext. 461.

 


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UH Manoa Sea Grant Extension Agent Kelley Anderson-Tagarino (second right) is seen here during her previous position as Marine Science coordinator with ASCC. Anderson-Tagarino is still based on the ASCC campus, but now encourages community resiliency in the care of our marine environment through her capacity with Sea Grant. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC Sea Grant Extension Agent Strives to Improve Community Resiliency

April 25, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

During the fall 2013 semester, American Samoa Community College (ASCC) former Marine Science coordinator Kelley Anderson-Tagarino made the switch to University of Hawaii Sea Grant Extension Agent. Although hosted by ASCC, the Sea Grant Extension agent position is funded by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, and functions within the Community and Natural Resources (CNR) organizational chart. While Anderson-Tagarino’s responsibilities include continuing to support the ASCC Marine Science program, her new position involves an increased focus on extension and outreach.

“I hope to improve the resiliency of communities in American Samoa,” explained Anderson-Tagarino. “I see Sea Grant contributing to this in several ways: by empowering people to become self-sufficient in producing food via aquaponics and aquaculture, by improving access to marine science knowledge by supporting and strengthening the ASCC Marine Science Program, and by ensuring critical information such as water quality data is available to local managers.”

Anderson-Tagarino now spends approximately 50% of her time on aquaculture extension service, which involves providing aquafarmers with technical support as well as maintaining four different aquaculture and aquaponics demonstration systems at the ASCC-CNR Center for Sustainable Integrated Agriculture and Aquaculture, where farmers can view these systems as examples. The Center also brings aquaculture awareness to the younger generation by hosting numerous K-12 school tours a year.

“The other 40% of my time is in support of the ASCC Marine Science Program,” she continued. “This involves teaching one course in both fall and spring semesters, which are Introduction to Aquaculture and Introduction to Fisheries Management, respectively. In the remaining 10% of my time I represent the Pacific Integrated Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) as their liaison in AS, which involves maintaining a water quality sensor in Pago Harbor as well as networking with local stakeholders.” Anderson-Tagarino encourages anyone interested to visit the PacIOOS website for (http://pacioos.org) for an overview on the program.

Anderson-Tagarino earned her Bachelors of Science at the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation with a minor in Zoology, then went on to complete a Masters of Science degree at the College of Marine Science within the University of South Florida in Oceanography. “I originally came to American Samoa to conduct research on coral bleaching and was amazed to see healthy, vibrant coral thickets still standing here,” she said. “Coming from Florida, where I watched the continuing decline of coral reefs, it is very encouraging to live in a place with such comparatively healthy reefs. American Samoa has been the site of numerous studies on resilient corals, which is an area of increasing interest to coral reef managers as the impacts of climate change continue to be felt. As the only US Territory in the south Pacific I think American Samoa has a lot to teach stateside scientists on resiliency - both of its reefs and its people.

Looking back on her earlier experience teaching Marine Science full-time, Anderson-Tagarino expressed pride that a number of ASCC students she mentored early-on have since made the subject the primary focus of their education. “Over ten of my past-ASCC students are now attending UH Hilo studying Marine Science,” she enthused. “They’re doing great and I couldn't be more proud! Also, a past-ASCC Marine Science student just received his Masters of Science in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science. As far as I know, this was the first ASCC Marine Science student to earn his MS in a marine field!”

Anderson-Tagarino’s place in the ASCC Science Department has been taken by Jameson Newtson, who holds both a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Watershed Science as well as a Masters of Science degree in Geography with an Emphasis in Watershed Science from San Diego State University. Newtson expressed enthusiasm for “immersing myself in a new culture and developing my career path,” and described working in American Samoa as “a dream”.

Like Anderson-Tagarino, Newtson considers it crucial that students learn how the well-being of the oceans affects the rest of our environment. “The health of the ocean is vital to the health of the entire planet,” he stressed. “Being an island nation, American Samoa is directly impacted by the health of the ocean. Therefore, it is imperative for local students gain an understanding and respect for the islands most precious resource: the ocean.”

 


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Non-traditional students comprise most of the class members in the Apprenticeship Workforce Development program offered by the Trades & Technology Division of ASCC. The program will begin its next eight-week session on May 5th. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-AWD Expands Course Offerings

April 23, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Beginning on May 5th, the Trades and Technology Division (TTD) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will begin its third eight-week semester in the Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) program since its re-launching last year. The AWD provides training for both currently employed workers and job seekers to achieve enhanced and updated skills through structured, on-the-job learning experiences combined with related classroom instruction. Classes take place in the early evening to accommodate the work schedules of those enrolled.

The TTD will offer ten AWD courses for the forthcoming semester in standard areas of the Apprenticeship professions such as Architectural Drafting, Electrical, Automotive, and Welding, Air Conditioning and Computer Technology, including three classes being taught for the first time within the program. Troubleshooting Basic Electronics & Appliances (ELP 810) is for those interested in repairing basic electronics devices and gadgets such as TV’s, audio devices, computers and regular household appliances. The prerequisite for this course, taught by Taetuli Laulu, is the ETP 800 and/or with proven experience in the electronics/electrical field.

Computer Networking (ICT 840) is intended for those presently working in the IT field or its equivalent who would like to update their skills with the training needed to earn industry-relevant certifications. Experience in the computer field is a requirement to enroll, and the instructor will be a new adjunct member of the TTD faculty, Mr. Jericho Martinez. The third new course is Introduction to Collision (ABR 810), which is of special interest for those in the auto body repair field. This is the first course in a series of courses within this program for anyone aiming to become an Auto Body Technician certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

AWD Coordinator Fred Suisala said the local workforce has shown strong support for the program since its return last year, indicating a strong interest among local trades professionals in upgrading their skills and certifications. “The program has been very successful since re-launching,” said Suisala. “There were 78 enrollments with 61 Certificates of Completion conferred this last semester, an increase from 54 participants and 41 Certificates presented during the previous session. The completion rate also improved from 76% from the previous semester to 78% this last semester.”

Suisala explained how a better-skilled workforce will ultimately contribute to a healthier economy for American Samoa. “The high prices we pay for consumer items have a lot to do with import costs,” he said, “and it’s the same for highly skilled labor. When the workers with the know-how to perform our needed services have to be sponsored into the Territory from overseas, this necessarily adds to what they need to charge the customer. Therefore, we as a community need to build our own highly qualified local workforce to help contain service costs and rebuild our economy.”

Suisala observed that the AWD classes thus far have attracted a combination of non-traditional students interested in a new career as well as incumbent professionals wishing to attain the certification necessary to gain a competitive edge. Registration for the coming AWD semester will take place from April 29th to May 2nd, with classes getting underway on May 5th. For more information on the AWD program, contact the TTD at 699-9155, ext. 353 or 472.

 


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ASCC artist Regina Meredith (front, seated) is seen here with some of the Art students whose work will be included in the show "Welcome to the Drawing Board", which opens this coming Monday with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the ASCC Cafeteria. The show will remain on display in the Cafeteria through Friday, April 25th. Back row (l-r): Teuila Villarica, Desmond Applin, Adi Tuatoo and Meghan Tennison. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC artist Regina Meredith counsels art student Meghan Tennison. Meghan is one of the student artists whose work will be included in the upcoming show "Welcome to the Drawing Board", which opens this coming Monday in the ASCC Cafeteria with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The show will remain on display in the Cafeteria through Friday, April 25th. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Student Art Show Opens Next Week

April 14, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Visual artworks typically start off as just an idea on a drawing board, and a group of Art students at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) have expanded on that truism to come up with “Welcome to the Drawing Board” as the title of their student art show that will open on Monday, April 21st in the ASCC Cafeteria and will remain on display through Friday, April 25th. The show will include the work of current and potential Art majors, and is open to the public.

“The title refers to us being the younger generation of artists in American Samoa,” explained Rata Afalava, one of the student artists whose work will be included in the show. “The drawing board is where things begin, and we see ourselves as very much at the beginning stage of our involvement with art.” Some who have viewed Afalava’s work, which has been displayed at previous local exhibitions, might disagree with his self-assessment, but there is no denying how the work of the ASCC art students reflects the influence of their times as much as the great artists of the past were influenced by theirs.

“We artists are driven in part of the trends of the day, while trying to keep true to our personal vision of the subjects we choose to create,” reflected Regina Meredith of the ASCC Art Department. “There has to be a degree of tradition in the manner of application of paint to canvas, but once that is understood, then genre and subject matter evolve naturally with the times.” Meredith said most of the works on display will be two-dimensional works on canvas and paper, but added that some of the participating students have yet to reveal their entire mediums, which leaves room for surprises.

Student artists confirmed to participate in the show include Afalava, Dominic Taylor, Teuila Villarica, Zach Faulkner, Roj Singh, Edmund Manoa, Adi Tuatoo, Meghan Tennison, Tanu Luani, Desmond Applin and Ashley Hisatake. “Putting together an art show for the College and the community helps students develop a greater awareness of what it takes to be a productive artist, capable of creating work and interacting with an audience,” said Meredith. “It develops artistic skills, people skills and communication skills, which are essential in the art field where it never hurts to be an extrovert.”

The opening reception for “Welcome to the Drawing Board” will take place Monday, April 21st in the ASCC Cafeteria, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., and will feature live music and light refreshments. Thereafter, the artworks will remain on display for the rest of the week. Business hours for the ASCC Cafeteria are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For more information on “Welcome to the Drawing Board”, contact Regina Meredith at 699-9155, ext. 460.

 


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Languages & Literature Department Presents Literary Evening

April 11, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Languages and Literature Department at the American Samoa Community College ASCC hosted a Literary Evening on Thursday, April 10th in the Lecture Hall. This free event featured ASCC students performing pieces from across the spectrum of literature, including poetry, drama, lyrics and famous speeches. Authors represented spanned the history of literature in the English language from William Shakespeare to Sia Figiel, allowing timeless thoughts from across the ages to come alive through fresh interpretation.

Language and Literature instructor Poe Mageo, coordinator of the Literary Evening, stressed how performance opens dimensions of meaning in literature that are not always apparent from passive reading. “Performance allows students to form in their minds concrete possibilities to interpret ambiguities that often accompany poetry and short fiction,” he said. “It allows characters in a play to become more like normal, everyday people. It’s always an exciting alternative to turn the book upside down and have students form new predictions about the plot or narration.”

Having held their first Literary Evening last year, the Language and Literature Department decided to preserve the format which worked so well the first time, including the return of the Negro Spirituals in the program. In addition to providing students with a showcase for their singing abilities, Mageo feels that the Spirituals have played a significant if not always obvious role in the evolution of American Literature. “Negro Spirituals are part of the American literary experience,” he reflected. “They have a deeper meaning than just ‘slave songs,’ which resonates the human spirit as it yearns to be free. The songs speak of an unshackled determination and faith that one day they’ll ‘lay down their burden by the river side.’ They combine both poetry and living history. It’s equally important how the Spirituals became the foundation for Gospel, R&B, Jazz, and other musical genres.”

For Mageo, who in addition to teaching English at ASCC is also a music teacher and musical ensemble leader of some repute, the Literary Evening will be a parting gesture to culminate his time with the Language and Literature Department, since he will be beginning a new position with the College with its Music Department this fall. “I look forward to teaching Music full time at ASCC,” Mageo enthused.

 


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ASCC Board of Higher Education Participates in Leadership Seminar

April 10, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Members of the Board of Higher Education (BHE), the governing Board overseeing the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) participated in a professional development seminar earlier this month facilitated by Dr. Wilson Hess, currently President of the University of Maine at Fort Kent. With over 30 years experience in higher education administration, Dr. Hess offered his insights on the roles and responsibilities of college/university boards, accreditation expectations of boards, and the development and refinement of appropriate board policies and procedures.

Dr. Hess, who served as President of the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), from 2005 to 2009, and was recently named President Emeritus of the institution, now consults extensively for the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), and has worked with all of the colleges whose top administrators comprise the Pacific Post-secondary Education Council (PPEC). This was the first visit to American Samoa for Dr. Hess, who five years ago facilitated a board seminar in Hawaii attended by previous members of the ASCC BHE and other PPEC boards, and was invited to similarly facilitate for the current BHE by its Chairman Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva’aetasi following recommendations from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

In addition to Chairman Leanavaotaua, current members of the BHE Vice Chairman Dr. Fanuatele To’afa Vaiaga’e, HC Tauili’ili Lauifi, Father Viane Etuale, Rev. Dr. Si’ulagi Solomona Jr., and Dr. Annie Fuavai, along with Student Representative Ms. Talimeli Taufete’e also attended the two-day seminar held at the facilities of the College’s Community & Natural Resources (CNR) Division. Dr. Galea’i and ASCC administration members Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle, Vice President of Administration and Finances Dr. Rosevonne Pato, Chief Financial Officer Mrs. Emey Silafau, and Office of Institutional Effectiveness Director Mr. Sonny Leomiti also attended, along with CNR Director Tapaau Dr. Daniel Aga.

Dr. Kolhoff-Belle said Dr. Hess offered a number of thought-provoking insights on governance of a college in today’s educational climate. “The seminar helped new Board gain a wider perspective on the roles, responsibilities and duties of Board membership,” she explained. “It also helped all of us prepare for our accreditation self study and forthcoming accreditation review visit by WASC. Attending a seminar like this together promotes a stronger working relationship between the Board and the ASCC leadership team.”

Dr. Hess explained that he conducted the seminar using the national standards of the AGB. “The BHE members reviewed the basic tenets of the American system of higher education accreditation and WASC’s role in that system,” he said. Seminar materials included a 2006 white paper prepared by WASC which described challenges facing U.S. accredited colleges in the Pacific. “I believe the Board accurately assessed several key challenges, including: geographic insularity, public financial support, and awareness of the special governance issues associated with regionally accredited higher education institutions,” Hess explained.

Asked if colleges and universities in the American Pacific can expect to genuinely fulfill the expectations of a national agency such as WASC while taking into consideration the unique cultures of the region, Dr. Hess cited ASCC as an example of an institution successfully balancing priorities from both the inside and the outside. “I am convinced that a union which reflects the best practices of U.S. higher education, while respecting the unique circumstances of American Samoa, is at the core of ASCC,” he said. “One specific aim of our seminar was to forge a working understanding of board roles and responsibilities that is consistent with U.S. accreditation expectations while respectful of the unique circumstances of Pacific societies. If education is to be effective it must both understand the setting in which it is offered, while simultaneously challenging everyone in the learning community to raise their levels of understanding, reasoning, and performance. ASCC appears to be on that path.”

Dr. Hess has been the President of University of Maine at Fort Kent since 2010. He previously served as the President of the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), from 2005 to 2009, and was recently named President Emeritus of the institution. While at CMI, he oversaw the implementation of a highly successful enrollment management program and established a $27 million building program and campus redesign. Dr. Hess previously served as an Executive Director of the Audubon Expedition Institute, and from 1990 to 2000 he served as President of Unity College in Maine. Prior to this, he held various faculty and administrative positions at Unity College from 1977 to 1989. Dr. Hess earned a Master's Degree in History at the University of Maine in Orono and a Bachelor's Degree in History at the University of Baltimore. He has also engaged in Doctoral Studies in History at the University of Maine.

 


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ASCC Accounting major Ms. Miranda Galo has been chosen as the spring 2014 recipient of the College's Presidential Merit Scholarship. The scholarship is offered every semester to support students who display academic excellence. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) Accounting major Ms. Miranda Galo (front, center) leads a tour of the ASCC campus for high school business club members. Ms. Galo has been chosen as the spring 2014 recipient of the College's Presidential Merit Scholarship, which supports students who display academic excellence. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Selects Spring 2014 Presidential Merit Scholar

April 3, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) makes available every semester the Presidential Merit Scholarship to assist students who display academic excellence. The scholarship is open for application by both students eligible to receive federal financial aid as well as those who do not meet the necessary criteria. The ASCC Student Services Division has announced the recipient of this semester’s Presidential Merit Scholarship as Accounting major Ms. Miranda Galo.

Born in the Independent State of Samoa, Ms. Galo, 19, is a graduate of Iakina Adventist Academy and has been attending ASCC since fall 2012. Her extracurricular activities outside ASSC include mentoring with the Pathfinder Club as well as teaching in the Junior Sabbath School at Iakina Adventist Church. “It is a blessing to attend college,” said Miranda in her scholarship application, “because neither parents nor my siblings have had that opportunity. I wish to make a difference within my family and be the first college graduate.”

As a student born in Samoa, Miranda does not qualify for the financial aid resources available to locally born young men and women, but this has not stopped her in striving to succeed in life through education. She cites as an inspiration Bill Gates, a one-time college dropout who worked his way to becoming one of the world’s wealthiest men. “Growing up in an environment where hard work is simply a reality makes me driven to succeed,” she said. “The example of Bill Gates shows that failure is simply a lack of persistence.”

In addition to her studies, Miranda also takes part in her church’s monthly ministries at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, an experience which she says has helped her put life’s struggles in perspective. “Within this ministry, we share God’s word and establish relationships with the inmates to show them they are not alone,” she explained. “This has taught me to be a careful listener and to reach out instead of judging, because everyone is fighting some kind of battle. Seeing our brothers and sisters suffering has motivated me to take education seriously, try to make the right choices, and stay on the right path.”

Criteria for the Presidential Merit Scholarship, which consists of $500 applied towards the recipient’s ASCC tuition, includes a cumulative grade point average of 3.60 or better, having completed 24 credits at ASCC towards an Associate degree, having received no “Incomplete” grades, having completed freshman English and Math, and having been a continuing full-time student at ASCC for at least two semesters before applying. For more details on the Presidential Merit Scholarship, contact the Division of Student Services at 699-9155, extension 376.

 


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ASCC-ASCRF Biggest Loser Competition winners Manu Thomas (left) and Avea Lotoaso display their prizes. Manu and Avea took top honors in the "Couples" category, while James Maae took first place in the "Individuals" category of the weight loss competition. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-ASCRF Announces “Biggest Loser”

March 31, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa College Research Foundation (ASCRF) Student Organization at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has announced the winners in this semester’s “Biggest Loser” competition. In recognition of Healthy Weight Awareness Month earlier this year, the ASCRF launched the “Biggest Loser” competition in late January to encourage ASCC students to become familiar with the many factors in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. 34 individuals entered the competition to see who could lose the most weight over the next two months, with the winners emerging as James Maae in the individual category, and Avea Lotoaso and Manu Thomas taking top honors in the couple category.

While the idea for the “Biggest Loser” competition came from its television namesake, the ASCC version incorporated the expertise of the fitness and nutrition specialists of its Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division to make the process of weight loss much more than simply a matter of weighing-in at the beginning and at the end. The first weigh-in took place in late January at CNR, and the contestants learned how their weight corresponded to their Body Fat Percentage and Body Mass Index.

Following the initial weigh-in, the competitors were invited to two workshops given by CNR staff members Ursula Te’o-Martin, Exercise Physiologist; Travis Fleming, Community Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian; and Ryan Taifane, Fitness Specialist. The first was a Nutrition workshop where Fleming discussed the different food groups, portion control, and the importance of a healthy diet to compliment an exercise program. Next, Te’o-Martin and Taifane offered a workshop on Exercise vs. Physical Activity, which addressed the five components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. “We also conducted equipment orientation for the students in the Wellness Center so they would be informed on how to use the various cardiovascular equipment safe and effectively,” said Te’o-Martin.

With each contestant left to apply the knowledge from the workshops and follow their personal discipline, the ASCRF held the second round of weigh-ins last week to determine the contest winners, with Maae awarded a $50 cash prize and a $10 Movie Gift Card. Winning couple Lotoaso and Thomas split a $100 cash prize and a $20 Movie Gift Card between them. “Most of the competitors stated that the competition opened their eyes to the types of food being consumed,” reflected winner Maae. “I think everyone who participated is more conscious of observing their own food intake and more aware of the amount of servings that the body really needs.”

For Te’o-Martin, the competition provided an opportunity to promote awareness of exercising safely. “Many people join a ‘Biggest Loser’ type competition and then are left on their own to figure out how to lose weight, which can be risky,” she said. “Individuals need to be mindful that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another, especially when it comes to medical issues and concerns. The key is to understand the importance of engaging in a safe and effective exercise program. Make sure your exercises are not contraindicated, and you will not get injured or risk of hurting yourself due to overexertion and/or physical limitations. Also, select an exercise program that will maximize the results of your time and effort.”

Although Te’o-Martin described the Exercise Program at the CNR Wellness Center as “still under construction”, she and Taifane have done extensive community outreach to promote fitness. “We try to accommodate any requests CNR partners such as agencies, villages, churches, or schools who ask for an exercise session or workshop,” she said. “The exercise sessions are always specific for the group setting. My background is in a variety of exercise formats, and we welcome community requests as these allow us to collaborate, build relationships and find out what motivates and interests different people when it comes to physical activity and exercise.”

On behalf of the ASCRF, Director Mrs. Matesina Willis thanked their CNR partners and congratulated the competition winners. “We would like to hold another ‘Biggest Loser’ competition in the future,” she said, “and possibly get our ASCC faculty and staff involved as well.” Willis credits ASCRF Administrative Assistant Tiare Tupua for coordinating the competition and the ASCRF Ambassadors for their promoting the event.

 


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Wittenberg Mariner, a fall 2013 ASCC graduate now at Chaminade University in Honolulu, has been chosen by the national Phi Theta Kappa honor society as a New Century Scholar. (Courtesy Photo)

ASCC-PTK Graduate Awarded New Century Scholarship

March 27, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Wittenberg Mariner, a fall 2013 graduate of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) and member of the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, has been chosen as one of the recipients of the New Century Scholarship, sponsored by Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges. Mariner, now attending Chaminade University in Honolulu as an Accounting major, is one of this year’s 51 New Century Scholarship recipients chosen from across the USA and its territories and Canada. The scholarship includes $2,000 for Wittenberg to apply towards her continuing college career.

The New Century Scholars program and All-USA Community College Academic Teams, which is sponsored by Follet Higher Education Group and presented by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa, share a common application and together recognize outstanding community college students. This year, more than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 900 community colleges for recognition. Judges factor in grades, leadership, activities, and most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

Wittenberg (pronounced WHI-ten-berg), 20, is the daughter of Magele Teila and Afua Mariner from Faga’itua. Prior to ASCC, she attended Alofa Elementary and Faga’itua High School. While at the College, in addition to her membership in PTK, Wittenberg also participated in the Business Ambassadors of ASCC student organization. Now at Chaminade, Wittenberg says she is working towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and hopes she will be able to continue to the next level of certification as a Certified Management Accountant. “PTK emphasizes service, leadership, fellowship and scholarship,” Wittenberg said via email from Hawaii, “and it benefitted me both financially through this great scholarship opportunity as well as academically.” With the ASCC PTK, she applied her skills as an accounting major to the position of Treasurer. She says she would like to one day return home to serve her community, and sends her heartfelt gratitude to all her teachers and mentors at Alofau, Faga’itua and ASCC.

Mrs. To’aiva T. Fiame-Tago, head advisor of the ASCC PTK chapter, Alpha Epsilon Mu, congratulated Witt on behalf of herself and her fellow advisors Mr. Evile Feleti, Mr. Anthony A. Felise, Mr. Kuki Tuiasosopo, and former advisor Mrs. Evelyn V. Fruean, as well as all of the current honor society members. “We’re very proud of Witt’s achievement,” she said. “For a member of the ASCC chapter to be selected as a New Century Scholar from amongst all of the chapters across the nation serves as an inspiration to us all. We wish Witt the best of luck in her future academic career.”

Phi Theta Kappa, which recognizes and encourages academic excellence, is the largest honor society in American higher education, with more than 1,285 chapters at two-year and community colleges in all 50 of the United States and its territories, Canada, Germany, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates. The ASCC chapter of PTK, Alpha Epsilon Mu, was established in 1979 by the late “Papa” Jim Sutherland, and continues to induct new members every semester based on outstanding academic achievement.

 


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Sister Faustina Stowers of Hope House/Fatuoaiga receives a gift of food donations from the ASCC International Students Organization and their adviser Tala Ropeti-Leo. (Photo: K. Garcia)

New ASCC Organization Brings Together International Students

March 25, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

A new campus organization at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will enable international students to offer one another academic support while also offering opportunities for civic and social engagement. The International Student Organization (ISO) has been established under the leadership of Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i, with Tala Ropeti-Leo of the Student Learning Assistance Center serving as the organization’s advisor.

“The mission of the ASCC International Organization is to provide a strong support system for our international students,” said Ropeti-Leo. “The ISO will provide opportunities for all students, regardless of ethnicity, to be involved in school activities while raising awareness on the importance of social diversity. Our goals are to promote unity, to encourage international students to share their cultures and values, to recognize and appreciate all diversities within ASCC, to encourage international students’ involvement in school activities, and to create an inclusive environment where students of different cultures can feel like they belong.”

Ropeti-Leo emphasized that foremost among the organization’s priorities is helping international students succeed academically. “Language becomes a barrier for learning for many international students,” she said. “This sometimes makes it difficult for them to understand class lectures and materials. Feeling shy or awkward, international students are sometimes more comfortable asking their peers, rather than a faculty member, for help. Their peers in the ISO can answer questions, clarify what was said in class, or help with homework and assignments. We’ll also provide reference services to the different offices on campus where the appropriate information and assistance can be found.”

The ISO currently consists of 23 members from different cultures such as Korea, the Philippines, China, Tokelau, Germany, Tonga and Samoa, and any students of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds are welcome to join. They have elected Jennifer Tuiletuguga as President, Emily Johnson as Vice President, Jae Yang Chae as Treasurer, and Dezmond Applin as Secretary. The Organization meets a minimum of twice a month and has plans underway to become actively involved in community service as well as the campus activities hosted by the Student Government Association.

As part of their initial community service project, the ISO recently held a Food Drive to assist the residents of Hope House/Fatuoaiga, to whom they presented all of the gathered food and monetary donations on Tuesday, March 25th. “Since our first meeting, our members have been very eager not only to help each other with their classes, but also to show how much they want to be good citizens by participating in community service projects,” said Ropeti-Leo. “Hope House is the first place the ISO members wanted to fundraise for.” Putting their plan into action, the ISO first held a Pickathon on Friday, March 14th at Su’igaula Utulei Beach Park. All proceeds from the Pickathon and donations from the Food Drive have gone to Hope House.

During the current semester, the ISO will also be holding an Art Poster Competition beginning on March 31st with the theme of “Unity Among Diversity at ASCC,” as well as a Poetry Competition beginning April 14th under the similar theme of “Appreciation of Diversity”. “Our long term goal is to continue to recruit more members, and to make sure that all students regardless of race, cultural background or gender feel welcomed at ASCC,” said Ropeti-Leo. The ISO also hopes to soon host an International Night event where students can enjoy a variety of food, music, and cultural presentations. These ambitions reflect the level of enthusiasm the ISO members have not only for supporting each other academically, but also for enlivening the cultural and social milieu of their campus. “The members we have so far are very active,” said Ropeti-Leo, “and I believe that together we can achieve great things.”

Ropeti-Leo said that anyone who would like more information on the ISO is welcome to call 699-911 ext 461, 733-2690 or email ascc.isorganization@gmail.com.

 


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ASCC Business students who recently returned from a trip to New Zealand and Samoa are seen here with members of their families and their instructor Dr. Faofua Faatoafe. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC students who recently returned from a trip to New Zealand and Samoa are seen here with their instructor Dr. Faofua Faatoafe. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Business Students Visit New Zealand
and Samoa

March 20, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

A stated goal of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Business Department course Marketing & Management (MKT 212) is that students will “obtain direct observation or in-depth understanding on how various products are produced, packaged, stored, and distributed locally and globally.” Eight students taking MKT 212 this semester obtained firsthand experience with the production of goods when they made a nine-day excursion that took in both New Zealand and Samoa over the recent Spring Break.

“Part of the ASCC Mission is to foster an awareness of Samoa and the Pacific,” explained Business Department Chairperson Dr. Faofua Faatoafe. “This course and business trip demonstrated how students can assess in many practical ways the economic conditions in American Samoa in relation to other parts of the region.”

Having raised their travel funds through their own initiative, the ASCC Business students and Dr. Faatoafe traveled first to New Zealand, and on the way home, Upolu and Savai’i. As Dr. Faatoafe explained, making firsthand observations of how overseas businesses operate gave the students the opportunity to apply much of the material covered in earlier Business courses focusing on accounting, marketing, management, business communication, workplace ethics and organization. “Over the years we’ve been able to make these visits, our department has established a bond of goodwill with many Samoa and New Zealand businesses,” she explained, “plus the cost is more affordable than a similar visit to Hawaii or the US mainland.”

Businesses the ASCC group visited in New Zealand included Bluebird and Tip Top Ice Cream, followed by Samoa Natural Factory, Uncle Johnny’s and Soap Mailelani in Upolu and several home-based businesses in Savai’i which keep families financially sound. “Visiting these diverse operations allowed us to observe how they manufacture their products, value diversity in the workplace, and establish their marketing strategies,” said student Sola Mailo, 27, of Ili’ili, who helped with group organization in her role as Trip President. Fellow student Lydia Fuatoa, 19, of Fagatogo, also expressed enthusiasm for the insights she gained first by participating in the organization of the visit and then by making direct contact with overseas businesses. “I learned the importance of time management and budgeting,” she said. “Then, by seeing the various production methods and marketing strategies, I observed different channels of distribution among international competitors. This has helped me gather valuable insights I can use to improve my Personal Business Plan.”

In addition to Mailo and Fuatoa, the other travelers included Vaosa Leifi, 20, from Asili; Theresa Mouniu Tavu’i, age 23, from Pago Pago (trip secretary); Siitupe Peter Peko, 20, from Pago Pago; Talava Sonny B. Lewis-Williams, 20, from Malaeimi; and Togasii Paul Peko, 20, from Pago Pago (trip treasurer). In addition to analyzing the overseas businesses, the group also took pride in acting as ambassadors for ASCC. “In keeping with our custom, everywhere we went, we took along some items to present as gifts to our hosts, such as ASCC t-shirts and coffee mugs,” recalled Mailo. “Although ASCC is known to many in Samoa, many people in New Zealand are not very familiar with it, which made the gifts with our College’s name on it all the more special for them.”

Since many of the students had not done much traveling prior to this, Dr. Faaotafe held group meetings with their parents both prior to their departure as well as soon after their return. These meetings give parents the opportunity to become familiar with the intentions of the journey as well as the organizational procedures Dr. Faatoafe and the students would adhere to. Just as they had bestowed gifts upon their business hosts overseas, during the post-journey meeting with their parent, each students presented his or her parents with gifts made up of products they had observed being produced during their time away from home.

 


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Visitors from across the American Pacific join ASCC/CNR administrators and staff at the beginning of the Pacific Island Forestry Committee Meeting earlier this month. The successful event gave participants an opportunity to exchange information and views on perpetuating the health of forests throughout the region. (Courtesy Photo)

Pacific Island Forestry Committee (PIFC) Meeting Comes to American Samoa

March 19, 2014

By Fepulea’i M. Van der Ryn, CNR-ASCC

Earlier this month, the Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) demonstrated the Samoan practice of talimalo (receiving visitors or hospitality) during the 2014 Annual Pacific Island Forestry Committee Meeting from March 4th through 7th. The meeting, a first for American Samoa to host, took place under the aegis of the ASCC-CNR Forestry Program and focused on the theme of Invasive Species and Climate Change. According to participant Caitlyn Pollihan, Director of the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, the theme highlights the two core issues being faced by foresters throughout the Pacific region. ASCC-CNR Forestry Program Manager Mary Taufete’e explained meeting’s objective as “sharing experiences, ideas and success stories from which to gain knowledge and techniques for improving the sustainability and health of Pacific Island forests."

The Committee consists of foresters from American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, Hawaii, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau -- all of whom fall under Region #5 of the U.S. National Forest Service. Foresters from these American Pacific jurisdictions attended the meeting, as well as Vicki Christiansen, Deputy Chief of the U.S.F.S. in Washington D.C. and Sherry Hazelhurst, Director of the Region #5 Office. The Committee also welcomed participation from the Independent State of Samoa, represented by the Director and a staff member from South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP), based in Apia. Local participants included staff from the National Park of American Samoa and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in addition to the hosting CNR- ASCC Forestry Program staff.

A traditional Samoan ‘ava ceremony at Maota o Toe Timata le Upega, the Samoan meeting house at the Malae o Suigaula in Utulei, officially opened the event. The meeting continued in the Lee Auditorium over the next four days, with sessions on topics such as invasive species control, biosecurity, forest action plans, climate change and sea level rise, presented in relation to forestry work in the islands. Sherry Hazelhurst, Director of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Area Office, said the meeting offered “a forum for sharing and developing ideas on how foresters in the region can improve outcomes in forest sustainability and health, while raising awareness about funding, technical support, and training programs to help participants implement critical forestry projects.” Hawaii State Forest Manager Sheri Mann highlighted the benefits of the international exchange of ideas, such as Hawaii adopting New Zealand’s protocol for preventing the introduction of invasive tree and plant species. American Samoa leads the Pacific for the eradication of the invasive tamaligi palagi (Falcataria moluccana) and the Panama rubber tree (Castilla elastica), which crowd out valuable native Samoan forest species like ifilele (Intsia bijuga). So far in American Samoa has treated 2,800 acres and eradicated over 8,000 invasive trees.

A mid-week tour of the island for participants featured visits to National Park and NRCS sites in Vatia and Fagasa, including the National Park’s tree nursery. The same evening, an MOU was signed between the ASCC Forestry Program, The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, the US Dept. of Agriculture, the Forest Service, and the American Samoa Soil & Water Conservation District. This MOU strengthens cooperation among partners to better protect, conserve, and enhance benefits from American Samoa’s private and communal (non-federal) forest and agro-forest lands. The expected benefit will be increased collaboration among partners on forestry related program delivery in American Samoa.

On the final evening of the meeting, Lt. Governor Lemanu Mauga and his wife Pohakalani hosted a dinner for the participants, with the faletele in Utulei again as the venue. During his speech, CNR Dean/Director, Tapa’au Dr. Dan Aga provided cultural insights into Samoan architecture, in particular the arching inside roof of the fale tele, describing its symmetry as a cultural principle also reflected in the system of Samoan gift exchange. Tapa’au referenced the use of many local trees in the construction of the building, emphasizing the need to continually renew the connection between Samoan culture and natural resources, especially the forests. The evening concluded with gifts presented to the PIFC participants as well as to the Lt. Governor and his wife.

Most participants at the meeting expressed that they genuinely enjoyed the entire event. Sheri Mann cited this meeting as the best of the 14 she has attended. Certainly the quality of the hospitality impressed the visitors, from the giving of ‘ie lavalava and ula laumaile before entering the fale tele for the ‘ava o le feiloaiga to the additional gifts they received on the final day. The participation of the American Samoan Government lent the meeting important significance, as it underscored the value our Territory gives both to our traditions and our environment.

 


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Artist Regina Meredith (front left) is seen here with Vicky Walker Manila (front right), during the Business and Professional Women of American Samoa's fundraising event this past weekend. In the background, (l-r) Rose Manila and Kathy Baker look on. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Artist Delivers Keynote Speech for International Women’s Day

March 13, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Business and Professional Women (BPW) of American Samoa joined in the national and worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day this past Saturday with a fundraising event titled “International Women’s Day Art Show: Inspiring Change,” which featured as keynote speaker artist Regina Meredith of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC). “In keeping with this year’s theme, we chose Reg because of her talents as both an artist and a teacher and because of her work with her students and local artists to inspire change in art,” said local BPW President Anne Wellborn. “Her presentation on the siapo art form and the history of this traditionally female format beautifully showcased her knowledge of the history of art in American Samoa and her love and respect for women artists.”

The event not only helped inspire change, but also helped make a significant change in the circumstances of an ASCC student. Funds raised at the event went towards the BPW scholarship fund, the current recipient of which is Theresa Togia, an exemplary student who serves as President of the College’s Student Government Organization but who does not qualify for the financial aid options open to most students in American Samoa. The BPW scholarship will assist Ms. Togia, now in her second year at ASCC, through all four semesters of her pursuing her Associate of Arts degree.

As an instructor who familiarizes her students with siapo and other Samoan art forms through her ASCC class Indigenous Art (ART 161), Meredith strives to continue the passing-down of knowledge to new artists who will keep the craft alive and evolving. To illustrate how essential the handing-down process is in the realm of art, she began her talk by showing how the Renaissance, the re-awakening of interest in literature, philosophy, science and art, came about when the artists and intellectuals of the day looked to ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. “Re-learning the knowledge of the ancients laid the ground work for the Renaissance thinkers and artists to move forward,” she explained. “To be founded in tradition enabled them to expand into newness.”

Meredith also noted how throughout the history of art, most of its great practitioners began as apprentices, and how innovations on their part only became possible after they mastered the fundamentals of their craft from studying under those who came before them. Paradoxically, anything new is by necessity grounded in something old. Siapo, she continued, has for been handed down in much the same way as art fundamentals during the Renaissance. “We began as apprentices under the teaching of a master,” Meredith recalled of herself and her peers. “We learned day after day and year after year as much as we could – looking at the u’a, scraping trees, making the dyes, cooking the masoa, wrapping our boards, and then learning the mamanu – the motifs to make our designs, something passed on since the beginning.”

As she spoke, Meredith stood surrounded by siapo mamanu works from four generations of artists, including pieces by her mentor and primary inspiration Mary Pritchard, Marilyn Pritchard Walker, Adeline Pritchard Jones, Maria Walker, Su’a Tupuola Wilson Fitiao, Nick King, Tupito Walker Gadalla, Marybeth Melcher Braun and herself. “These works convey a wealth of commitment, love, endurance and dedication,” said Meredith, “not just to the art form, but to a tradition and cultural heritage as well. Many of us have developed an individual style, but there is a degree of mindfulness that siapo has tradition. It hails from our ancestors, and its rich backbone to our Samoan history is reason enough to maintain it.”

“My hope for the future, for those who want to learn more about our art forms, namely siapo, is to first delve into the richness of its past,” she concluded. “Study it, and learn from others who have learned from others and so on. Be inspired by the tradition, know it like the back of your hand, live it, maintain it, and any change will emerge naturally.”

Following Meredith’s talk, the BPW held an auction of an original siapo work by Maria Walker, raising $300 towards the organization’s scholarship fund. The BPW scholarship is offered to female residents of American Samoa with a high school diploma or GED who have a financial need and are not eligible for the US Pell Grant. Applicants must agree to take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and work up to 10 hours per month as an intern for our organization. The scholarship pays registration fees, tuition and text books for two full years. The next scholarship will be available when current recipient Ms. Togia completes her program.

 


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ASCC Practical Nursing students visited the Boys & Girls Club of American Samoa this past Wednesday to make a presentation on health and safety issues. Here, the ASCC visitors are welcomed by former First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono, who now serves as BGCAS Chairperson and Chief Volunteer Officer. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl) ASCC Practical Nursing students visited the Boys & Girls Club of American Samoa this past Wednesday to make a presentation designed for youngsters on health and safety issues. Here, the PN students and their instructor Ann Longnecker pose for a group photo with their audience. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Nursing Takes Health & Safety Presentation to Boys & Girls Club

March 10, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Nine Practical Nursing (PN) students from the class Family and Child Nursing (NUR 190) at the American Samoa Community College visited the Boys & Girls Club of American Samoa (BGCAS) this past Wednesday to give presentations on health and safety in a format designed to appeal to youngsters. “At the conclusion of the clinic portion of the class, a Health Teaching Project is required,” explained Nursing instructor Ann Longnecker, “and our visit to the Boys & Girls Club gave the Nursing students firsthand experience with providing youngsters with important health and safety information in a way that engages their attention.”

In her many years as a professional nurse and health educator in American Samoa, Longnecker has observed that many local children simply have never been taught some of the most basic health and safety principles. “This can be anything from how scratching sores can escalate to catching a serious illness, to the dangers of getting too close to someone using a weed eater,” she said. For this reason, Longnecker emphasizes the importance of getting these principles across early and frequently to American Samoa’s children by requiring her Family & Child Nursing students to create and carry out their Health Teaching Project.

At the Club facility in Tafuna, Longnecker and the Nursing students received a personal greeting and orientation from former First Lady Mrs. Mary Ann Tulafono, who now serves as BGCAS Chairperson and Chief Volunteer Officer. Tulafono explained that the BGCAS is linked to a network of Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide, and how it offers an after-school program mixing fun activities with highly focused academic support for youngsters from at all grade levels, including high school. Another familiar face welcoming the ASCC visitors was BGCAS Executive Director Tupua Roy Fua, remembered by many at the College from his years as Director of the GEAR-UP program. Tupua introduced the ASCC presenters to their audience of more than 30 BGCAS participants aged six through nine.

The presentation consisted of two separate “skits” performed by two groups of Nursing students. Using humor and lots of action, the first group of Nursing students acted out how to properly respond to common family emergencies such as choking on food and kitchen fires. Also using live action, props, and music, the second group performed a mini-drama that incorporated village safety, road safety, food safety, animal safety, and ocean safety, all during a simple visit to the park. Having kept their audience engaged, the presenters followed each skits with a quiz on the main safety and health points and prizes for participants who could give the right answers. The youngsters seemed to readily grasp the main points being put across, with several participants even getting up in front of their peers to demonstrate safety procedures they’d witnessed.

“Although our skits are entertaining, they’re meant to inform and maybe save a child from injury or death,” reflected Longnecker. In addition to the memory of a fun and informative hour-long session, the ASCC visitors also left the BGCAS youngsters with a number of health and safety brochures to share with their parents. Given the success of the initial ASCC Nursing presentations at the BGCAS, Longnecker said there are plans for additional visits this month. “With the PN students having done so well, the Nursing Department would also like to give our Registered Nursing students a chance to do presentations here, this time target to older participants.” Presentations by the RN students will tie in with the class Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing (NUR 208).

For more information on the Boys and Girls Club of American Samoa, visit their web site at www.bgcas.org.

 


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Laupele for Your Health at First Friday Courtesy ASCC/CNR

March 10, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Community and Natural Resources Division (CNR) of the American Samoa Community College would like the public to know about a healthy, nutritious leafy green vegetable that may already be growing in your own back yard. Laupele or Edible Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot) is one of the most nutritious of all leafy green vegetables. Rich in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin A and zinc, it is more nutritious than Chinese cabbage or even spinach, and is very easy to grow in American Samoa.

CNR has several new varieties of laupele that were produced through crossing of the traditional varieties found locally. To encourage the public to grow this potential food source, Agriculture Extension Agents from CNR gave out free cuttings of these new laupele varieties at the Fagatogo Market Place during the First Friday event for March. “If you plant cuttings close to your home, you can have a steady supply of free and nutritious vegetables,” said CNR Horticulturalist Ian Gurr.

With obesity, diabetes and heart disease having become a challenge for many in the Territory, nutritionists recommend an increased consumption of vegetables as an alternative to fatty and sugary foods in order for us to become healthier. However, easy access to common favorites among leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach has long been a problem for local residents because of the unsteady supply and high cost of imported groceries. With these factors in mind, Gurr described the laupele as “the ideal vegetable to grow in American Samoa. It’s very nutritious and easy to cultivate in our climate. It can be grown from cuttings and can be harvested multiple times over a period of many months or even years.”

Over the course of months researching the laupele, not only as a plant species but also as a food, some CNR staff remarked on it occasionally having a taste they described as “slippery”, depending on how it is cooked. Gurr said this rubbery or slippery texture is easily remedied by, first, choosing tender, younger leaves rather than mature ones. Do not soak the leaves in water before cooking, but rinse them quickly in running water and set them aside to drain. Instead of tearing the leaves by hand, cut them with a sharp knife, and if boiling the laupele, wait till the water is at a boil before adding the leaves. “Laupele can also be blended into scrambled eggs or pancakes using a hand blender or regular blender to make it more appealing for young children,” said Gurr.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the laupele can talk with the CNR Extension Agents, who can be reached at 699–1575.

 


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ACE American Industries Store Manager Damien Mackenzie and Floor Manager Teni Maae (second and third right) present the Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program at ASCC with a substantial donation of building supplies. Joining them are Trades & Technology Division Dean Michael Leau (far left) and AWD Coordinator Fred Suisala (far right). (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ACE Makes Major Donation to ASCC Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program

March 4, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program (AWD) under the aegis of the Trades & Technology Division (TTD) at the American Samoa Community College recently received a major boost in the form of a very substantial donation of construction supplies from ACE American Industries. AWD Coordinator Fred Suisala estimates the value of the donated materials to be more than $3,000.00.

The donated items include finishing materials such as special floor paints, deck restorer kits, construction glues, wood primers, liquid granites, drywall liquid nails, restorer concrete kits, blend sticks, roof cements, stain oil, spray-paint gloss, Corner and assorted vinyl tiles and moldings. “These miscellaneous items will be used mostly in the AWD Construction Program for identification of chemicals and compounds in paints, glues, and primers,” said Suisala. “These items will also be utilized in demonstrations as well as to promote the availability of new products and the correct applications.”

ACE American Industries is a longstanding private sector supporter of the AWD, and currently sponsors seven participants, three in Electrical and four in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration classes. The AWD offers after-hours classes in the major trade disciplines for both “apprentices” sponsored by private businesses or public sector organizations as well as un-sponsored individuals taking the initiative to upgrade their trade skills. Recognized by the US Department of Labor, the AWD holds its courses during intensive eight-week ‘semesters” several times a year, allowing apprentices and private individuals to move through their classroom and on-the-job training at an accelerated pace.

Suisala emphasized how community support from both the public and private sectors, whether it be in the form of sponsoring apprentices or making donations like the one from ACE, is crucial to the success of the AWD. “The community’s involvement is crucial in sustaining the AWD training.” he reflected. “TTD has taken the initiative to provide training to upgrade skill sets so that workers may become highly proficient and earn certification in their areas, which in turn will lessen our dependency on foreign skilled craftsmen. Therefore, the support from the community in taking advantage of the AWD training serves as a ‘yardstick’ to measure the success of the program and its continuity, which in turn plays a critical role in stirring the local economy. “

For their roles in arranging the donation to the AWD, Suisala credits ACE Store Manager Damien Mackenzie, local ACE CEO Ms. Ngaire Ho Ching and, ACE Operations Manager Ms. Nadine Solofa-Taufaasau. Suisala said the AWD welcomes donations of useable materials, but due to federal regulations the program needs to exercise discretion over what it can accept. “We always have a need for tools and components used in the trade fields in good working condition,” he explained. “Currently we have Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, AutoCAD, Automotive, Electrical and Welding. Although we accept donations of tools, parts and assemblies used in these areas, it should be discussed with us first to determine if the materials fall within our guidelines.”

The AWD coordinator also wishes to remind potential apprentices and other interested trades people that registration for the program’s next eight-week semester will take place from April 29th to May 2nd. The first day of instruction will be May 5th. For more information on the AWD, call 699-9155 and ask for Fred Suisala.

 


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ASCC/CNR staff working under the Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Program take their message directly to the students at Alofau Elementary School (Photo Courtesy CNR). Talimatagi Va'alele-Isaako of ASCC/CNR engages students at Alofau Elementary School using puppets. The activity is part of the Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Program's goal of raising awareness of healthy nutrition and physical activity (Photo Courtesy CNR).

ASCC-CNR Children’s Healthy Living Program Enters Intervention Stage

March 3, 2014

By ASCC/CNR Staff

The Children’s Healthy Living Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region (CHL) is a partnership among remote US states and territories including Alaska, American Samoa, Common wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. These jurisdictions, which have US Land Grant Colleges, are united in the Pacific Land Grant Alliance, and are combining efforts to train a public health nutrition work force; to conduct public health nutrition research; to develop a food, nutrition, and physical activity data management and evaluation system; and to communicate nutrition and health related information to the public.

The American Samoa arm of CHL is the Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division of the American Samoa Community College, where efforts have been underway for the past two years to engage the community in awareness of childhood obesity and steps that can be taken to mitigate it. The first phase of activity involved taking measurements among groups of children in selected villages, which would serve as a data baseline for research to follow. CNR staff participating in the CHL program have now moved on to the intervention stage of the project, and have made multiple visits to schools (Head Start, Kindergarten and grades 1 – 3) in the intervention villages. There, CHL nutritional staff conducted workshops and physical activities using the LANA (Learning About Nutrition through Activities) preschool program utilizing learning materials adapted linguistically and culturally to a Samoan context.  So far there have been ten school visits in five different intervention sites involving participation of 305 children.

Another major achievement was bringing together 16 ministers of various denominations from churches within the intervention villages to the CNR Wellness Center to develop intervention strategies through the churches. CHL lead site Co-Principal Investigator Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta presented a PowerPoint on the CHL program objectives and strategies, and generated group discussion on the role the ministers can play in facilitating healthy behavioral changes in their congregations. During these engaging discussions, many ministers expressed strong intentions to integrate health messages into future sermons.

Other intervention activities are also being developed. Lead site Co-Principal Investigator Areta, along with CNR Manager of Agricultural Extension Tuna’i Alfred Peters and CNR Horticulturalist Ian Gurr, have begun scouting the intervention villages and schools, discussing sites for establishing vegetable gardens and hydroponics. Dr. Don Vargo gave a brief presentation on the CHL program to nine members of the America Samoa’s “Obesity Study Committee”. Intervention Specialist, Agnes Vargo has been communicating with key community partners in developing other types of intervention activities. Progress has been made on designing and producing social marketing and media to stimulate and reinforce the six CHL behavioral changes.

The issue of obesity is gaining increased attention throughout American Samoa. The Governor recently appointed an Obesity Task Force to guide policies and strategies to reduce obesity, of which CNR Director/Dean Tapa’au Dr. Dan Aga is a member. Obesity is an environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic issue that must be addressed at all fronts. For example, food carries much cultural weight in Samoa, symbolizing love, relationship and hierarchy, particularly when it is publically presented, consumed and exchanged in the frequent Samoan ceremonial events. The amount of food, particularly meat complemented by starch foods, has social and political significance. The CHL team intends to formulate strategies to encourage healthy perspectives on the role food plays within local culture.

CNR Health Communications Researcher Fepulea’i Dr. Micah Van der Ryn emphasized the connection between obesity and NCD (Non Communicable Diseases), which are at epidemic proportions in American Samoa. “Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other ailments are not exclusively associated with obesity, but obesity definitely increases the likelihood of these diseases,” said Fepulea’i. “It’s important to focus on curbing childhood obesity because it’s harder to change eating habits later in life, especially if a person was already obese as a child. NCD factors associated with life style, such as eating too much imported junk food and being too sedentary, are costing American Samoa both economically and in terms of quality and length of life.“

Tapa’au Dr. Aga serves as Chairperson for the CHL Program in American Samoa, with Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta serving as Lead Site Co-Principal Investigator and Urusla Te’o-Martin as Co-Principal Investigator. The CHL Program is a Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Coordinated Agricultural Program (CAP) among Pacific Region USDA-defined Experimental Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) states/jurisdictions.


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ASCC Phi Theta Kappa Holds Spring 2014 Induction

February 28, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society held its spring 2014 induction ceremony on Thursday, February 27th. 19 young men and women took the oath to join the prestigious honor society, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and makes available scholarship opportunities nationwide. For this semester’s induction ceremony theme, the PTK chose “Education: Stepping Stones to Success,” and the evening’s keynote speaker was Ms. Sophia A’asa, a spring 2012 ASCC graduate and former PTK president now working in the LBJ Finance Office.

Each semester, PTK advisors Toaiva Fiame-Tago, Evile Feleti, Anthony Felise, and Kuki Tuiasosopo, review the ASCC Dean’s List and other relevant data to determine which ASCC students qualify for the membership in the Society. At ASCC, PTK nominees must have taken at least 12 credits towards their respective degree programs, passed their English 150, English 151 and Math 90 classes, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher.  Qualifying students receive an invitation to join PTK, and most of those invited readily accept the offer. Accepting the invitation to PTK membership this semester are Jee Yeon Q. Choe, Virginia A. Fetalaiga, Gilbert Fiaui, Miranda Galo, Annelise Haleck, Toni-Marie Hollister, Kesia Iosefa, Anna Iosefo, Jane T. Lang, Wynona Lee, Glory Magele, Jasmine T. Makiasi-Maiava, Si'itupe Paul Peko, Anna Sewell, Sitivi Sitafine Jr., Arona To'alepai, Sarona To'alepai, Patricia Tofilau and Visa V. Vaiau.

With chapters at community and junior colleges across the United States and its territories, Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourages excellence in scholarship among associate degree students. The Greek words Phi Theta Kappa mean wisdom (Phi), aspiration (Theta) and purity (Kappa). The society bases its programs on its four hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. As a long-established presence on the ASCC campus, PTK members participate in campus and community events that reflect its four hallmarks, the most recent of which was a “Pink-a-Thon” (not a typo) held earlier this month where PTK members conducted a major rubbish pickup in the area between the Mesepa sign and the Jonathan Fanene residence in Malaeimi.

“The purpose of the Pink-a-Thon, which we named after our theme of pink, was to create awareness that there is an International Honor Society in ASCC, and that we're not only focused on our studies, but we're also all about giving back to the community,” said PTK President Ms. Mona Chang. “Sometimes students become so immersed in the academic and social life that we tend to forget that our community needs us. We hope the community continues to support us in all our activities, and we also hope to find more ways to give back to our community not only as PTK members, but also as students of ASCC.”

Phi Theta Kappa provides more than $35 million worth of scholarships annually to student members nationwide. Each member is automatically nominated for inclusion in the prestigious National Dean’s List, and is also enrolled in the PTK Transfer Database, which links senior institutions across the nation offering scholarships to PTK members. For more information on the Phi Theta Kappa Honors society, visit their webpage at www.ptk.org.

 


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ASCC-CNR Conducts Poultry Research

February 21, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Since this past December, the Community & Natural Resources (CNR) division of the American Samoa Community College has conducted a project to examine the viability of raising poultry with locally-produced feed. “One of the difficulties with raising animals in American Samoa is the high cost of imported feed,” said CNR Horticulturalist Ian Gurr. “The project was to test a feed made locally from ingredients found here on island. This allowed us to compare the growth of chickens fed a commercial feed, those fed the locally made feed, and those who were allowed to range free and fed with coconut.”

For the project, CNR brought in 100 Cornish Rock chickens as day-old chicks, and monitored their growth over the next two months. To provide a proper living space for the chickens that also fulfilled the requirements of the project, CNR Dean/Director Tapaau Dr. Daniel Aga collaborated with Trades and Technology (TTD) Dean Mr. Michael Leau, who arranged for the TTD Architecture to draw up the blueprints for the structure under the guidance of instructor Adullum Esera. Gurr and CNR instructor Dr. Otto Hansell used previous research done by the Sea Grant team at ASCC in producing a tilapia feed to produce their own feed which they felt would be more appropriate for broiler chicken production. During the course of the project, Dr. Hansell involved his Agriculture students as an introduction into methods of raising poultry.

The Cornish Rock chicken is a broiler chicken commonly raised for meat. They grow very quickly and are ready to eat in six to eight weeks. “We were also interested to see how well this breed of chicken would do in our warm wet climate,” elaborated Gurr. “The long term goals are to be able to identify a breed of meat chicken that does well in our climate, and to produce a feed locally which will make it profitable to raise meat chickens here. as well as egg-laying chickens.” Another aspect of the project was to collect and compost the chicken manure for use as a soil fertilizer and amendment, and to use it to make a growing medium similar to potting soil for vegetable seedling transplants.”

As the test progressed, Gurr and Hansell noted that the chickens given the locally produced feed reached an appropriate cooking size at approximately seven weeks, which is almost as fast as the chickens eating imported feed.  “The commercial feed still was better than the locally produced feed,” said Gurr, “but this was just our first trial. We will be continuing trials to try to improve the local feed.” However, the chickens given the locally produced feed showed no compromise in flavor. “We had a taste test and found them to be good tasting and very tender,” confirmed Gurr of the chickens raised on the locally produced feed.

“I don't think we are at the point of producing meat chickens for the same cost as an imported chicken yet, if fed imported commercial feed,” reflected Gurr, “but the development of a locally produced feed which saves farmers the cost of imports has the potential to turn poultry farming into a viable economic alternative.” The ongoing project is partially funded by the US Department of Agriculture – Western Sustainable Agriculture and Education.

 


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ASCC-TTD Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program Enrollment Rises

February 13, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program in the Trades & Technology Department (TTD) of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) began its second semester this past week with 72 participants signed up for its six classes, a rise from 54 in fall 2013. For this eight-week cycle of instruction, the Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program is offering evening courses in Automotive, Electrical, Welding, and new additions AutoCAD (Architectural Drafting), Air Conditioning and Computer Literacy.

Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Coordinator Fred Suisala observed that the most popular choices among apprentices this semester are Welding and the new offering Computer Literacy. “The US Department of Labor (USDOL) considers Administrative Assistant an apprenticable occupation,” he explained, “so we've introduced a course for the benefit of those who would like to pursue office work but for whatever reason haven't had the opportunity to learn basic computer skills. Moreover, AutoCAD users, automotive technicians, electronic technicians and other trades workers need to know the use of PCs and laptops for designing, diagnostics, estimations, and retrieving repair information, since most related materials are now available only in software and online formats which are updated on a daily basis, and thus require computer skills to apply.'

The program defines “apprentice” as an individual currently employed in a particular field who seeks to expand his/her skills in their chosen area. Some participants cover their own tuition costs, but the program encourages public and private sector employers to sponsor their workers as an investment not only in the individual's future, but also in the growth of the business or government division from which they come. Business and government participants in this semester's Apprenticeship Program include Ace Hardware, the Development Bank, the Department of Youth and Women's Affairs, Public Works, Sepp's Paint Shop, E & W Construction, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and ASCC itself.

“I'm happy to see that many of the apprentices from last semester have returned this time to continue their training,” said Suisala. “We've gotten a lot of positive feedback regarding the program from both the apprentices and their sponsors, and I'm certain this has contributed to our increased enrollment.” Classes take place in the late afternoon to accommodate the work schedule of students, and each “semester” in the program lasts for a duration of eight weeks. “Our apprentices are not like typical college students carrying a diverse load of classes,” said Suisala, “so they can intensely focus on just one class and we can cover all of the necessary material in eight weeks.”

The Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Program in full entails about 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2000 hours of on-the-job training per year, although the exact time sequence will differ with respective trades or industry fields. Following a meeting between Suisala and the USDOL last year, the ASCC program was registered under the USDOL and is now recognized nationwide. Classes are open to both apprentices and non-traditional students currently employed in apprentice professions. Tuition for each apprentice is the responsibility of his/her Program Sponsor or employer as per the USDOL Standards of Apprenticeship.

For more information on the Apprenticeship Program, contact Fred Suisala at 699-9155, ext. 353.

 


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ASCC TED Establishes Cohort

February 7, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Teacher Education Department (TED) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has reached a significant milestone in the development of its four-year Bachelor in Education (BEd) with an emphasis in elementary education degree program. This semester, with 14 students solidly on track towards earning their BEd degrees, the number is high enough for the TED to group them into a cohort. For the next two years, this cohort of students will move through their required BEd courses collectively in an atmosphere conducive to collaboration and camaraderie, while also enabling the TED to provide them with a greater level of academic advising and resources.

ASCC awarded its first BEd degrees in spring 2012, and by this semester, the number of students who have completed their introductory-level TED requirements and are prepared to enter the upper-level courses (numbered 300 and 400) has grown to 14. Cohort Coordinator Filemoni Lauilefue expressed pride in the establishment of the TED cohort group, as well as confidence that the model has proven effective among local students. “Our people thrive in a situation of mutual support,” he said, “and having the students organized into a cohort makes it much easier for us to provide them with the assistance to succeed.”

Lauilefue explained that in his capacity as Coordinator, at the end of every month he and Co-Coordinator Iose Muasau will review each cohort member's progress based on factors such as their attendance, completion of assignments, general participation in classroom activities, and test and quiz results. This will ensure that each cohort member will receive any necessary support and/or counseling, and also provide the Coordinator with a detailed view of each student's achievements and challenges. This Coordinator-student relationship takes on increased significance as the cohort members embark on the student-teaching components of the upper-level TED classes. “This is where they will go out into the field and interact with real students in a real elementary school classroom,” said Lauilefue, “which makes it more important than ever that they know their department stands behind them.”

Dr. Galea'i-Scanlan said the establishment of the TED cohort reinforces her belief that the young people of American Samoa care enough about the future of the Territory to want to become effective elementary classroom teachers. “Our older students have often expressed to me how much untapped potential they see in the elementary and high schools,” she reflected. “They feel our students need teachers who understand the unique cultural situation of American Samoa, and who have ideas on how to turn diversity into a strength rather than an impediment. Becoming a teacher to serve locally is the most sincere means of putting beliefs like these into practice, and in the TED we welcome students who sincerely wish to serve their community.”

The members of the TED cohort are Angela Amata, Malia Auva'a, Cathlyn Custodio, Anamarie Kitiona , Senetenari Malele Lameta, Kevin Lam Yuen, Georgina Laupola, Camio Lavata'i , Finau Roxanne Moananu , Sia Niupulusu , Barry Patane , Anthony Tago , Iaeli Tooala and Valoaga Vui. For more information on the ASCC Teacher Education Department, contact them through the College's main telephone exchange at 699-9155, and ask for Dr. Galea'i-Scanlan.


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ASCC Business Students Assist Public with
Tax Filing

February 5, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

For the seventh year and counting, members of the public needing assistance with their tax filing are welcome to consult with the Business students from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) who on most weekdays can be found staffing a table outside the Tax Office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. “Our participating students have received training on the general requirements and rules associated with filing local taxes,” said ASCC Business instructor Mr. Ioapo Taua'i. “In addition, they've gone through the complete process on how to complete the different tax forms required in filing local taxes.”

Most of the students participating in the tax assistance program are currently enrolled in Taua'i's class Payroll and Income Taxes (ACC152A). Others are Business majors who have already completed the Payroll and Income Taxes course. “The course is about income taxes,” Taua'I explained. “Having the opportunity to calculate real work taxes for real people is the ultimate goal of the course. These students' participation indicates they can apply the skills taught in the classroom. The experience will also give them an advantage when applying for jobs involving taxes.”

To complement classroom theory with the specific guidelines of the local tax collection operation, 16 of this year's participating students also underwent a two-day training conducted by Ms. Maryann Olo, Revenue Agent 4 and Mr. Richard Jimmerson, Revenue Agent 5, of the local Tax Office. Between now and the end of tax season, each student will spend a minimum of 40 hours assisting the public to fulfill the course requirements. Students arrange their working hours at the Tax Office according to their class schedules, and Taua'i or other faculty from the Business Department make frequent visits to the work site to monitor their progress. As part of the grading process, the Tax Office submits a job performance evaluation for every student upon completion of their 40 hours, and traditionally, at the conclusion of the year's tax collection period the Tax Office has also awarded each participating student a Certificate of Appreciation.

“We feel fortunate that our students have this valuable opportunity to gain real insight into the local tax process by working with the public,” reflected Taua'i. “I also think that our continued participation for seven years speaks for itself as far as the quality of the service we provide the public free of charge. The students even cover their own transportation costs between our campus in Mapusaga and the Tax Office in Utulei, which shows how much it means to them to serve their community.”

Students participating in the income tax filing project include Miranda Galo, Annie Fiatoa , Ester Iosefa, Irae Vine, Vaipuna O'Brien, Siana Aupa'au, Sia'ana Lam Yuen, Theresa Togia, Michelle Stark, Tala Lewis, May Siaosi, Si'itupe Paul Peko, Lydia Fatutoa, Vaosa Leifi and Irae Fuimaono. Anyone with questions on the tax assistance services provided by the ASCC Business majors can contact Taua'i at 699-9155, extension 382.

 


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Author L. Filloon to Speak at ASCC

January 31, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

A new voice in fantasy fiction appeared on shelves in the nation's bookstores in 2011 in the form of a book titled "The Binding" by an author going by the name of L. Filloon. What few knew at the time was that the "L" stands for Logo, short for Fa'alologo, and that "L. Filloon" is a Samoan in fact born here in the Territory, although she grew up in Hawaii and San Diego. Filloon has not returned to American Samoa since her early childhood, but she will be in town this week to talk about her life, her craft, and the successful novels that make up The Velesi Trilogy, a series that takes place in a fantasy realm and has made the author something of a sensation among fans of the fantasy genre.

Filloon will speak at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) this Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the College's Lecture Hall. Her talk is open to the public, although seating may be limited. Speaking from her home in Las Vegas, Filloon shared her thoughts about encouraging young people who may have an interest in becoming writers. " Self doubt is one the biggest adversary a young writer faces," she reflected. "I can't tell you how many emails and letters I receive from young writers looking for guidance, searching for approval on following their dreams and words of encouragement to brave the onslaught of 'what if's?'"

She believes that a mentor can make a big difference in encouraging fledgling writers to stick with the craft. "I've been fortunate enough and blessed to have several mentors in my life, because mentors are not meant to live your life with you but to guide you in the direction you wish to go in life. Great examples of early mentors for young writers are their parents and teachers. A mentor can walk a young person through that gauntlet to a place of strength and courage so they can make their dreams a reality." Filloon also has strong opinions on the role education plays in building literary skills. "English classes don't just teach you how to write a sentence, they open you to a world of writing that transcends beyond your classroom walls," she emphasized. "English was the major I had to get an 'A' in. No matter how I was doing in my other classes, I could not fail English. I knew at a young age I wanted to be a writer, but before I could start I needed to know the basics. Like any other art form you commit yourself to, you need the proper tools and the guidance to start."

With that proper guidance, Filloon believes, language opens the door to extraordinary levels of self-expression. "Being exposed to the works of Hemingway, Frost, Poe, Hawthorne and many more, you learn not only how they write but also why. You learn how words are used, manipulated and construed to create beautiful stories, poetry and lyrics by some of our greatest of authors, musicians, and poets. Look how politicians use provoking oratories that rile and build within the listener a sense of patriotic brotherhood, all from putting one word in front of another. As a writer, you learn how to bring your thoughts together in written words to solidify and communicate them, and how relate what you see, hear and feel to others and make them see, hear and feel how you want them to."

Asked how she chose to write in the fantasy genre, she explained, "I believe story lines are limited to the author's reality. Real-life stories are limited to a universal truth that is our reality, a reality that most can anchor to and relate to. Fantasy story lines break those boundaries and take a reader away from the mundane and the norm. When writing fantasy, the sky is the limit. Within your story you can create your own realms filled with your own being and creatures. You give them breath and soul, intent and purpose. You bring to life something strange and beautiful and you are able to share it with like-minded readers all over the world. It's awesome when your creations are looked upon and spoken about as if they actually exist."

Filloon's "creations" reflect her multi-cultural upbringing, and even echo her Samoan origins. " The course of my life has been influenced by the mythology of many cultures because I was fascinated by the mystical and fantastic and still am," she said. "I grew up in the states and although I remember some of the Samoan mythology mentioned when I was a young girl, it seldom influences how I write today. However, that doesn't mean I am without the influences of my culture. It is part of my creative core, part of what continues to provoke new and exciting worlds I can create within my writing. It is the foundation of my creativity."

The author sometimes fields questions about the surname she writes under, and Filloon shared how the name has a "stranger than fiction" story to go with it. "My first husband was Irish, French and American Indian," she explained. "When his great, great, great grandfather migrated to Ellis Island from Ireland, he changed his last name from O'Fallon to Filloon because his brother was a horse thief and he didn't want to be associated with such a criminal.  And, as you know, Logo is short for Fa'alologo, hence.Logo Filloon."

For more information on Filloon's talk at the College, contact the ASCC Library at 699-9155, extension 418.

 


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ASCC ASCRF Student Club Balances Civic Engagement with Academic Support

January 29, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer  

Director Mrs. Matesina Willis envisions the American Samoa College Research Foundation (ASCRF) as evolving into an important resource to assist the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) in fulfilling its mission. Through networking and fundraising, the ASCRF intends to fund supplementary activities for ASCC such as additional scholarships and professional development initiatives. Currently, Mrs. Willis is guiding the Foundation through several organizational and legal requirements which pertain to organizations that will take in revenue for non-profit purposes. These pending technicalities include the selection a full ASCRF Board of Trustees, which must be finalized before the organization can begin its efforts on the scale Mrs. Willis is aiming for.

Even while still working through the organizational process that will allow it to pursue its goals at full capacity, the Foundation has attracted a number of students who wish to participate in the work the ASCRF is presently laying the groundwork for. The ASCRF Student Club assists the Foundation in promoting awareness of its purpose through projects such as bake sales and car washes, while also providing a mutual support group to help each other succeed academically. “I believe that the club and its members have helped to motivate other students here at ASCC to begin their own clubs, and focus on academics rather than just hanging out with friends,” said ASCRF Administrative Assistant Mrs. Tiare Tupua.  “They emphasize utilizing their time wisely and effectively to make a difference in their college lives.”

The membership of the ASCRF Student Club coalesced last semester around a group who assisted the Foundation informally, and has since become one of the recognized clubs on campus registered with the Student Support Services Division. “This semester is the second semester since we've started the club, and the students have really come to understand the importance of what we try to encourage,” Tupua further explained.  “The Foundation wants the students to first be mindful of their academics, and second to think about their future, and whether they want to continue their education after ASCC or move directly into the work force. As they work with the Foundation on assigned tasks, we hope to assist them in becoming responsible, trustworthy and honest individuals.”

On a social level, the club conducts internally-organized tutoring sessions for its members, who also help one another stay abreast of school deadlines and opportunities that arise such as scholarship announcements. Several club members also emphasized that an important aspect of working under the ASCRF is learning what goes into creating educational opportunities for others. “So far I've learned the great deal of work it takes to fundraise and put together projects,” said club member Manu Thomas, 18, a Visual Arts major. “This club is good way for students to become aware of educational benefits that could help them in the future, which is a good reason why the community should support us.”

James Maae, also 18 and double majoring in Health Science and Liberal Arts, expressed appreciation for both the internal and external aspects of club membership. “T his club pretty much has everything because tutor sessions are done with other members and our advisors act as counselors and assist us with our classes and problems,” he said. “The club is steered towards enhancing the learning aspect and environment of ASCC, and it assists students, other clubs, and ASCC departments through fundraisers and sponsorship.”

Liberal Arts major Anna Iosefo, 17, praised the “structural balance” the ASCRF Student Club provides its members. “ The Foundation envisions students striving to achieve their best and it seeks to be the catalyst to their success,” she said. “The community should support this club because it helps build long lasting relationships that can benefit students both socially and academically.”

As the club plans its calendar for this semester, Tupua said it will include working with the ASCC Alumni Association to present workshops she hopes will enhance the professional development of club members and other ASCC students. The club will also collaborate with the Community and Natural Resources Wellness Center on campus health awareness projects, and assist the Student Government Association with several planned projects. For more information on the American Samoa College Research Foundation and its Student Club, call 699-9155 and ask for Mrs. Matesina Willis at extension 301 or Mrs. Tiare Tupua at extension 401.

 

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ASCC Welcomes New Dean of
Academic Affairs

January 23, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has begun its spring 2014 semester with a new Dean of Academic Affairs, Mrs. Letupu Tauanu'u Moananu, who has succeeded Dr. Irene Helsham. Currently in her 11 th year at the College, Mrs. Moananu has long been a familiar face in the Math Department, most recently serving as its Chairperson. As stated by ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea'i, Mrs. Moananu's appointment "is a result of her years of exemplary service to ASCC in various capacities and her credentials and established qualifications."

Mrs. Moananu began her college education at ASCC, where she completed her Associate in Arts degree before going on to earn her Bachelor in Science degree in Math from Washington State University and her Masters degree in Math from California State University in Fullerton. She is currently near completion of a PhD in Postsecondary and Adult Education from Capella University. "As I embark on this new journey in my career path, I look forward to working with the administration, faculty, and staff as we strive to achieve our college mission, and I hope to positively impact and enhance the educational experience of our students," said Mrs. Moananu.

Mrs. Moananu will be assisted by Mrs. Evelyn Gibbs Fruean, who has been chosen as the new Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. In his memo announcing her appointment, President Dr. Galea'i commended Mrs. Fruean for her "wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise in curriculum and instruction, and technology." Mrs. Fruean also began her college career at ASCC, where she earned her Associate degree in Liberal Arts before pursuing a Bachelor of Education as part of the University of Hawaii-Manoa Cohort program. She also holds a Master of Teaching and Learning with an emphasis on Technology degree from Kaplan University and is near completion of a Doctorate of Teacher Leader from Walden University. Mrs. Fruean has served at ASCC for three years as an Introduction to Computer Technology instructor in the Trades & Technology Division. "I hope to achieve positive relations and communications with each department and division, and also support the Dean of Academic Affairs in all roles and responsibilities," said Mrs. Fruean.

In addition to welcoming Mrs. Moananu and Mrs. Fruean, ASCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle expressed her well-wishes to their predecessor Dr. Irene Helsham on behalf of the College's administration. Dr. Helsham, who served at ASCC for 21 years in addition to nine with the Department of Education, retired at the end of the fall 2013 semester. "Irene's tireless hard work and pleasant personality touched the lives of so many people during her years with us," reflected Dr. Kolhoff-Belle. "She will be missed, but we wish her nothing but the best in whatever new direction she chooses for this new chapter in her life."

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ASCC employees celebrate on their 'Day'

January 17, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Just prior to the start of the spring 2014 semester, American Samoa Community College (ASCC) staff at every level joined together for fun and fellowship during the College's Employee Appreciation Day held this past Friday, January 10th. 

Administrators mingled with building and grounds staff, faculty participated in team competitions alongside business office personnel, counselors shared a meal with security officers, and employees from across the spectrum of professions all spent several hours enjoying each other's company during the College's celebration of each and every one of its hardworking staff.

The ASCC administration had hoped to hold an Employee Appreciation Day, or something similar, for the past several semesters, but for various reasons other priorities always ended up needing to take precedent. At most educational institutions, an event celebrating the work of the staff would typically take place at the end of a semester, but when ASCC instead decided to hold the Appreciation Day just prior to the current semester's beginning, the various components of the plan fell into place far more easily.

Describing the event as "a day of celebration in the spirit of sharing and cooperating amongst our employees and also a day for us to look forward to a New Year and new endeavors," Organizing Committee chairperson Tiare Tupua helped organize a program that included aerobic exercises led by Community and Natural Resources Exercise Physiology Assistant Ryan Taifane, games overseen by Mapusaga Luaao of the ASCC Physical Facilities and Maintenance Division, a dance competition, entertainment by both the Student Association for Faasamoa and the College Research Foundation Student Club, and finally a special singing performance by the duo of ASCC staff member Jason Hollister and guest Tonya Tuigamala.

The Organizing Committee worked under the guidance of the ASCC Office of Human Resources and its Acting Director Mrs. Sereima Asifoa. Mrs. Asifoa opened the proceedings with a speech that encouraged the assembled staff to "maintain a spirit of sharing and cooperation in whatever challenges, problems and opportunities we face throughout this year of working" before introducing ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea'i.

Reiterating Mrs. Asifoa's theme of unity, Dr. Galea'i expressed his appreciation for the work done by all of the College's employees, from the humblest maintenance staff, to the hardworking faculty, to the Deans and Directors directly under his own supervision. "I'm glad we've all come together to share this occasion," said Dr. Galea'i, "and now let's all relax and enjoy ourselves."

Both Mrs. Asifoa and Mrs. Tupua credited the resounding success of the Employee Appreciation Day to the efforts of many individuals on the ASCC staff as well as the generosity of businesses in the community that donated raffle prizes.

"We had volunteers from every division within the College," explained Mrs. Tupua, "and these individuals went the extra mile to ensure that every detail from the cooking to the organizing of the ASCC Gym to the planning of the program and much more was taken care of. Once the program got underway, everyone could concentrate on just having fun." Mrs. Tupua also noted that in the days following the event, the Organizing Committee and Human Resources Office have received continuous positive feedback from the College's staff. "Everyone seems to agree that this was a great way to begin a semester," she observed.

© 2014 ASCC P.O. Box 2609 Pago Pago, AS 96799 - Phone: (684) 699 9155 - Email: info@amsamoa.edu